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File photo Paul Barker / PA

Longford council calls for change in prostitution laws

Longford is the second county council to pass a motion proposing the government outlaw paying for sex.

LONGFORD COUNTY COUNCIL has passed a motion supporting a change in the law making it an offence to pay for sex.

The motion was passed at a council meeting on Wednesday night making Longford County Council the second in recent weeks to call for such a change.

Leitrim County Council passed a similar motion last month and the Immigrant Council of Ireland said it hopes other councils will follow suit in the coming months.

Denise Charlton of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said she welcomed the council’s decision which comes as a government review of the laws on prostitution is under way.

“It could not be more timely as it coincides with the first opportunity in years to change the law and help put people traffickers, pimps and other criminals out of business,” she said.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland is one of 50 partners which form the ‘Turn off the Red Light Campaign’ preparing submissions for government asking that payment for sex be outlawed in line with measures being taken in other European States.

“We have examined the experience abroad and firmly believe that the only way to end a sex trade and end the threats, abuse and violence against women is to target supply,” Charlton said.

“Public and political support is vital if we are to secure legal change which is why the actions of the County Councils in Longford and Leitrim are so important. We will continue to ask other local authorities to also show their support in the coming weeks.”

The window to bring about change is short with a deadline of 31 August for written submissions with oral hearings to follow.

Chartlon said: “It is time now for others to follow the lead of Leitrim and Longford and join us in ensuring we Turn Off the Red Light.”

Read: Leitrim first council to call for ban on buying sex
Read: Government urged to make paying for sex illegal in Ireland

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