The public face of the sex trade in Northern Ireland says that DUP proposals to criminalise its clients will drive vulnerable women further underground and put them more at risk of violence. Laura Lee, a Scottish-based escort, is campaigning against Lord Morrow’s bill, which aims to tackle human trafficking and exploitation by criminalising men who buy sex from escorts.
Lord Morrow’s bill will, she argued, put women like her in more danger by increasing the stigma around their work. She said her mandate comes from the many escorts who contact her. She is a spokeswoman for the International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW).
Advocates of the Morrow bill argue that criminalising men who buy sex would reduce demand and cause crime gangs to reduce the supply of trafficked women, which Swedish police say is exactly what happened in Sweden. But Laura said that what actually happened in Sweden after buyers were criminalised was that escorts moved indoors to protect their clients from police surveillance.
Previously: Protecting Sex Workers
File pic: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland