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Dublin: 1°C Thursday 2 December 2021

Change in prostitution laws sought

Over “1000 women for sale” in any given week in Ireland, thejournal.ie is told as campaign seeks change in law to deter prostitution.

"14, the age Anna was first exploited in prostitution" (Posed by actor)
Image: stoptheredlight.ie

MEN WHO PAY for sex and not the prostitutes engaged in the industry should be targeted by the law, according to an alliance of civil society organisations, ahead of the launch of a new billboard campaign this weekend.

The ‘Turn Off The Red Light’ campaign is seeking support from the public for a change in the law, making it illegal to pay for sex. According to Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, similar moves in Sweden have been extremely successful in destroying the industry.

“Criminalising the act of buying sex acts as a deterrent against men and for sex traffickers” she told thejournal.ie. There are 25,000 women in the legal sex trade in Amsterdam. In Sweden, where changes in the law have acted as a deterrent, there are 600-700 and street prostitution has halved.”

Some campaigners have called for a leglisation of the sex trade in order to protect women. However, Charlton says that this approach has been counterproductive in other jurisdictions.

“We’ve looked across Europe, talked to police and policy makers and what we’ve been told is that the legalisation of the trade in Amsterdam hasn’t worked. They say it is a social experiment that has gone wrong. It is the same people running the legal brothels as the illegal ones where there is child prostitution. It just legitimises pimping.”

She said that 1000 women were “for sale” in any given week in Ireland, with organised crime making €180m to €270m from it.

The billboard campaign coincides with an August 31 deadline for written submissions to the Dail Justice Committee on whether laws on prostitution should be changed.

Longford council calls for change in prostitution laws>

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