“Prostitution Is Messy, It’s Regrettable But It’s A Fact Of Life”

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norrisaideen

Senator David Norris brought up the subject of prostitution, Ruhama and the Turn Off The Red Light campaign in the chamber this morning.

He said:

I also want to take up this business of Ruhama, and Stop the Red Light (sic). It’s time this type of nonsense was really, honestly addressed….Despite the puppeteering going on by this middle class collection of ex-nuns and radical feminists…98% of the women for whom the voices are being articulated by the self-appointed group are opposed completely to it….the police are against it, by and large. Everybody realises that it’s going to be inoperable, ineffective and going to lead to serious risks to the lives and welfare of women and men involved in the sex business. So yes, prostitution is messy, it’s regrettable but it’s a fact of life.

Then Senator Aideen Hayden (Labour) interjects and it all kicks off.

We seem to have an issue with prostitution and no one’s buying it.

Earlier: Putting It Out To Tinder

127 thoughts on ““Prostitution Is Messy, It’s Regrettable But It’s A Fact Of Life”

  1. John E. Bravo

    The Seanad is possibly less qualified to deal with this; perhaps the ‘cute hoors in the Dáil might be better placed?

  2. Am I Still on this Island?

    I met Norris’ siblings. They don’t have that ridiculous accent he puts on. The man’s an embarrassment to himself.

        1. Alfred E. Neumann

          Nothing substantial.

          Anyway, lots of adults don’t have the same accents as their siblings. It doesn’t mean anyone is putting it on.

        2. Major Thrill

          My accent is entirely different to that of the rest of my family because I spent time in the UK and had to ditch part of it to be understood. I moved in different circles in Dublin and hung out with very different people and over time came to adopt elements of those accents. Had I spent that time in trinity academia I don’t doubt it would have ended up very different to what I have now.
          Having a different accent to your family means precisely nothing meaningful about anything.

          1. Am I Still on this Island?

            Yeah, but old David always lived in Ireland. He adopted his fake RP accent when he went to TCD. He’s always made an ass of himself.

          2. Major Thrill

            Well let’s say I have some sympathy and understanding for people who change their accent to fit in or be accepted. God knows there are plenty of people ready, willing and eager to take a dump on someone because their accent doesn’t make them sound clever enough to fit into the role they’re aiming for.

          1. BtotheB

            You’re beyond ludicrous. Judging someone because their accent is the most fickle and idiotic thing I’ve ever heard.

        3. Lilly

          He has a lovely musical accent. I couldn’t care less where he came by it. If only more people took the trouble to make themselves easier on the ear.

      1. Am I Still on this Island?

        I disagree with his argument. No woman wants to be a prostitute. I also disagree with his recent proposal in the Senate to jail workers who strike.

        1. Bernard

          Do you speak for all women? Some women find it empowering. And others do it to feed a habit. The problem in that case then isn’t that there’s prostitution, it’s that addiction services in Ireland are inadequate. The trafficking is a problem of course, but illegalising prostitution will only make that worse.

          1. Sidewinder

            Exactly. Trafficking is already illegal, but the resources available to law enforcement are clearly inadequate.

        2. Alfred E. Neumann

          His argument is that the proposed law will not help prostitutes, but will make their jobs more dangerous.

          Also, any sentence that begins “No woman wants” is wrong.

          1. Am I Still on this Island?

            Most women do not want. His argument is basically ‘I want a market so that I can buy sex without danger of prosecution.’

          2. Alfred E. Neumann

            If you have to mangle his argument so badly before you disagree with it, isn’t it possible you’re wrong?

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            So your statement is factually incorrect. It may not be many but it is some. And they should be allowed to do so in as safe and secure an environment as possible

        3. Ms Piggy

          do you know many people who want (actually *want*) to be street sweepers, sewage workers or abattoir workers? There are a lot of jobs – some of them very necessary to the basic functioning of our society – that few if anyone grew up wanting to do. But the people who do them exchange their labour in return for wages, and are entitled to dignity, safety and the protection of the law while they do so. Exactly the same is true of sex work, which is the provision of a service like many other forms of work.

          1. Am I Still on this Island?

            I don’t want to do my job. It’s boring. But I’m not being raped. Prostitution is essentially rape.

          2. Alfred E. Neumann

            It is a very odd position to decide that a transaction is non-consensual, despite the disagreement of the people involved.

          3. Nigel

            I don’t necessarily agree with ‘essentially,’ but ‘potentially,’ yes, the chances of it being a form of rape are quite high.

          4. rotide

            Quite high?

            Assuming neither party has been forced into it there is consent on both sides.

            This is not rape.

        4. Tiddle McGee

          Most women don’t want to be toilet cleaners either, but I don’t see anyone campaigning to criminalise those who make use of their services.

          1. Am I Still on this Island?

            I’ve done toilet cleaning. I didn’t like it. But it’s not rape. Prostitution is rape. Only men who pay for sex disagree with that.

          2. Sidewinder

            Jesus you are on a roll.
            First a strawman, now a no True Scotsman, never mind the “I speak for all women bit”.

            Prostitution is not rape. Rape is rape. Try asking a sex worker.

          3. Ms Piggy

            Am I Still On This Island is fundamentally refusing the ability of sex workers (and by the way, they’re not all women) to give consent.

          4. Am I Still on this Island?

            Consent does not exist when you have to do something out of economic necessity or because you’ve a drug habit. It’s prostitution. Duh.

          5. Don Pidgeoni

            “I’ve done toilet cleaning. I didn’t like it. But it’s not rape. ”

            Neither is sex work. I think you are confusing some elements of sex work where the power imbalance you are getting at is completely true – people who have been trafficked, underage sex workers, addicts to an extent. But if someone is happy to do it, how can it be rape?

          6. Nigel

            ‘I think you are confusing some elements of sex work where the power imbalance you are getting at is completely true’

            While he may be overstating it, surely this is the rule rather than the exception?

          7. Don Pidgeoni

            @Nigel

            I don’t know. For some sex workers it might be, for others not. I can see what Island is getting out but it doesn’t reflect the reality for everyone.

            This is an interesting read, not sure of other studies. But its not all drug addicts and abused people. That kind of mindset does no one any favours

            http://sciencenordic.com/what-drives-prostitute

          8. Nigel

            That’s quite interesting, thanks, and more positive than I would have dared hope for legalisation. More than half doing it out of economic necessity, though, and still plenty doing it because of problems like drug addiction. Legalisation may be the only moral thing to do, but it’s not a panacea.

          9. Don Pidgeoni

            @Nigel, it is nice to have some stats on sex workers rather than telling them what they want/need/do

            I’m not sure about the economic necessity thing – everyone works because they have to. For some women, it may be the best job for them for a range of different reasons but I dont deny that some sex workers have extremely complicated issues that legislation wont fix on its own.

          10. bob

            AISOTI… I don’t remember you always being this moronic. Was I just not paying attention or is it a new thing?

          11. Italia'90

            It’s definitely not a new thing. He has his moments but has been called out on his bullsh*t a few times by people with more knowledge than him. People that wouldn’t know when he’s bullsh*tting would be none the wiser.

          1. Am I Still on this Island?

            A person working in McDonald’s isn’t beaten up by their client, or forced to swallow their cum. Cop on. Prostitution kills.

          2. Ms Piggy

            So do lots of other kinds of work. Many workers are killed and injured as a direct result of their work. So we try to regulate their workplaces in order to make them as safe as possible. Except for sex workers, who we abandon in all respects. I’m ignoring the entirely unprompted declaration of revulsion about swallowing cum :-D

          3. scottser

            island, just want to point out that the sauce on a big mac tastes far too much like cum for my liking – please pick another analogy.

          4. Sidewinder

            Being forced to follow cum would be rape. Being paid to swallow cum is prostitution.

            Being beaten up is assault, not prostitution. Yes, this happens to prostitutes (but not all) sometimes but criminalising the purchase of sex will not stop it happening. I suggest you look up some materials about this written by actual sex workers.

          5. Sidewinder

            Oh also my friend is a teacher for adults with profound intellectual disability, and she’s been punched and scratched several times to the extent that she’s had to seek medical attention more than once. Should her job be illegal?

          6. Nigel

            Rather depends on how willing the prostitute is and what coercive steps have been taken to keep them a prostitute.

          7. Sidewinder

            Also +shitloads Ms Piggy. Cops get killed, soldiers get killed, truck drivers get killed, scientists get killed, healthworkers get ebola, A&E workers get assaulted, psych nurses get attacked. Shitloads of jobs have dangerous aspects to them but we provide support and regulation to reduce those incidences.

        5. Kate

          How can you know what is going through the minds of other women? I’m assuming you are a woman as a man to make that statement would be ludicrous! I am happy in my job and I chose to be a Sex Worker and I have a degree and a diploma, so not through lack of education. It was my choice. That kind of makes your statement incorrect?

          1. Lilly

            Yeah but what about when he has a big flab of belly, a cheesy d*ck and bad breath?!! Are you still happy or do you tell him to phone Operation Transformation.

          2. Kate

            lol admittedly they’re not all Adonis, but they are people with personalities. I have a shower and they WILL use it and if they don’t do it properly, then I show them the error of their ways and get them to do it again. I also have mouthwash and deodorant. Admittedly it looks like I’m providing top dollar, but it’s all there to benefit me really.
            I’m not skinny myself being a size 14/16, so I’m hardly going to judge someone by their weight. Having said that, most guys do put some effort into their appearance and are already clean and spruced up.
            I’ve learned not to be judgmental and go by first appearances and to be brutally honest, if someone shows me respect and is polite and follows my few rules, then we will get on like a house on fire. After all, I’m in control. Not them!
            The odd occasion when I really haven’t liked someone, I just don’t see them again.

    1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

      ‘No man is an island, entire of itself
      Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.’

      I hope that helps, buddy.
      **hugs**

  3. Tommy

    The argument centres on the logistics of policing what the red light campaign is suggesting and on the motives of the organisations behind the campaign. They have not been elected and although they have done some consultative work, who they are speaking for or representing remains unclear to me at least.

    Furthermore the statistics they presented at the launch of the campaign did not fit with the “solution” they derived. Sitting on the presentation team was a nun who is well educated and a very nice person. However, after hearing her speak and speaking with her personally afterward, I was left with the feeling that it was a moralistic objection to the practice of prostitution rather than motives of welfare, safety health etc that were driving her. The presentation was slick but I really felt a number of leaps were made with the data. I later corresponded with the groups involved to get some clarification and no response was forthcoming.

    I think Senator Norris raises good points here.

    1. Kieran NYC

      Wouldn’t it be great if those nuns could get all those fallen women together… and maybe put them in some sort of nice… home.

      Where they could be supervised by those wonderful nuns, where they could never sin again!

      By golly! Why has no one thought of this before!?!

      1. Kate

        Perhaps they could fund it by say… making us do the laundry.
        But wait… What about our out goings? Who will pay my rent? My Mortgage? Look after my Son when he runs out of funds, because he hasn’t worked out it’s best to save a bit for a rainy day and stop borrowing when you run out?
        Would life just cease after rescue? All my debts paid? Wow!!! bring it on!

  4. Simon Simcard

    If you’re the homophobic postmanpat I’m thinking of, I have video evidence of you opening Amazon packages. If you care for your job security, let me know what you’re going to pay me to keep quiet

  5. Lilly

    I’ve had so many sucky so-called good jobs in the past that prostitution doesn’t seem like a terrible option in hindsight. Well actually it does but you know what I mean. If someone has the stomach for it, who am I to argue with them. I wouldn’t encourage it but nor would I be in favour of anything that would make it even more dangerous than it already is.

  6. Starina

    sex workers should be legally protected, not banished and swept under the carpet like every other sex-related thing we’ve regulated on this island.

    and, dude. Am I still on this island – sex work is not rape. that’s. wow. so incorrect.

    1. Kate

      Thank you Starina and you are correct. Sex Work is not rape. Rape is without consent and that is the word people are forgetting here. That is the difference between someone who is trafficked or coerced and someone who makes the decision to give consent for money with no third party interference.

  7. TREVOR

    One’s own personal moral views are not helpful in these discussions. A Government’s prime role is to protect it’s citizens regardless of religious or moral views. Whether someone chooses prostitution or not is not the point. The point is that prostitution will happen whether one likes it or not, therefore a Government must provide legislation and rights for those people. Or have I missed something?

    1. D4n

      Yeah mate, you’re in Ireland, where the role of government is to look down on, moralise to, and rob from, the peasantry. Other than that, spot on.

    2. Anne

      You needed a prescription for a condom in this country not too long ago.
      This country was founded on worthies pontificating their views.

    3. curmudgeon

      Actually Ruhama’s stated goal is to criminalize men, ie the purchasers of sex. Not the prostitutes themselves.

      1. Kate

        You don’t think this will have a major impact on Sex Workers? It won’t drive things more underground, making it harder to find real trafficked and coerced vulnerable people? You don’t think that clients that may at the moment alert the Police will not just hold their tongue, in fear of being arrested?
        As soon as one party becomes criminal it will impact on the other party. There is no way this can be good for anyone other than to line the pockets of the government in fines, much the way the speed cameras did when they first came out. Now… did speed cameras stop accidents? I believe there are only 3 left in Belfast now. Why would that be?

        1. curmudgeon

          I never said nor implied anything close to what you have somehow extrapolated. I am simply pointing out that Ruhama consider the buyer to be the criminal and not the prostitute, she is always a victim of something or other, a “fallen woman” as they have claimed.
          I have nothing against prostitutes, and only wonder that if one day when I am old and unattractive enough to resort to purchasing their services will I will get arrested for doing so? Simply because a group of nuns and middle class militant feminists got their way versus everyone else including the people actually involved in the sex trade. Plus Ruhama are very much interested in all that interest group grant money that they can get their hands on.
          Much respect is due to Senator Norris here, he is conspicuously the only male member not embarrassed to speak up on the matter, and you can bet he will face fallout.

          1. Kate

            I’m sorry, but the statement that you made is often made with the view that it is to ‘help’ the Sex Worker when it is not the case, so this is how I interpreted it, as you didn’t really explain your reasoning.
            I can’t help but be a little concerned that you feel you need to be decrepit and old before you would consider booking a Sex Worker. I’m quite pleased to acknowledge that I’ll likely have moved on before you get to that stage, but then my cut off point is 63, so I’m guessing there are a fair few pensioners who would not be visiting me.
            I’m glad to say that most clients don’t use Sex Workers out of desperation. Maybe curiousity? Maybe because they don’t want an affair? Possibly due to lack of social skills or disability? Some may be widowed and miss company, but I would not call them desperate either. It’s more about cutting out the pretense and playing games and having a pre-arranged agreement as to where the boundaries lie.
            You are right though. No one should be prosecuted or even find for making a consensual arrangement with another adult. More should be done to ensure the consent is made free of will, but beyond that?

  8. Don Pidgeoni

    They should have a new law where no one is allowed to compare anything to rape apart from rape.

  9. Sidewinder

    Does anyone actually think this will make prostitution or trafficking stop? Anyone at all?

    Thoroughly disappointed to see the NWCI supporting this campaign.

    1. Ms Piggy

      The general consensus among those who know more than I do about this iniquitous TORL campaign is that NGOs are unable to resist the access they get to funding as a result of supporting it. The crucial link here is between the idea of trafficking and the security-industrial complex which surrounds immigration and Fortress Europe. The fact that there’s little evidence of much actual trafficking isn’t the point, especially when so many otherwise useful NGOs have had their other funding sources slashed during the recession. It’s a kind of survival technique for them really. But still deeply poisonous. And I suspect none of the above applies to Ruhama, who really seem to believe in ‘fallen women’.

      1. Sidewinder

        God that’s depressing. Fupping over a small, vulnerable and extremely stigmatised group of women in order to help more respectable women. Christ.

      2. Alfred E. Neumann

        Jesus. I’m not as inclined to forgive Ruhama as you are, though, because I suspect they are dressing themselves in the language of feminism to sneak in an old-fashioned agenda of government-owned vaginas.

  10. Anne

    Your one who interrupts him seems like a bit of a tit.
    Is it a free for all in the Seanad or what? Have they no Can-Curry?

    He made no such suggestion that women should choose prostitution, like they would choose being an accountant. He said it’s regrettable, but a fact of life, which I agree with. I think legalising it would protect sex workers.

    Anyway, he’s pissing against the wind.. I reckon, maybe, possibly in another 100 years when all the nuns die off, they’ll be able to have a reasoned discussion about it.

  11. Anne

    island, just want to point out that the sauce on a big mac tastes far too much like cum for my liking – please pick another analogy.

    Someone has done their research.

  12. Spartacus

    Unless I’ve developed early onset dementia, there’s something amiss with this discussion. Am I Still On This Island was, until a few months ago, an international man of mystery who with heavy heart departed these shores to shoot at ethnic minorities in a warm and sandy land far away.

    Today we hear AISOTI declare that he suffers in a boring job and cleans toilets.

    Imposter or mere Walter Mitty? You decide.

  13. Captain Redbeard

    I think you should be allowed do whatever you want as long as you’re not hurting someone else. Hurting someone’s morals doesn’t count. But physical, mental or financial hurting-you shouldn’t be allowed do those ones.

  14. Kate

    I can not believe ppl are picking on his accent and ignoring the fact that he is talking sense and is standing up for those that so far have not had a voice in Ireland. Sex Workers do NOT want the Swedish model. If any should be adopted look to New Zealand were trafficking is at an all time low.

    Oh and for the lady who apposed him. Yes many Sex Workers choose sex work. They are called Independent Escorts at large and our lives should also matter. Our safety should not be put at risk and especially not in this case where the Swedish model leads to less convictions and more trafficked as the business is led underground and we have less control as to who we see.

    I applaud David Norris for considering the lives of the Irish community within Sex Work. We are still people, we should not be cannon fodder for a cause that has been manipulated and exaggerated in order to keep funding for Ruhama. Ruhama also need to buck their ideas up. Many Sex Workers are highly educated and if they need ‘help’ to leave the industry, offering them courses for basic skills and c.v. writing is not enough. Also, why does it take 3 Weeks to a Month to receive this kind of help once asked for? Surely if they genuinely want to help, they would be able to offer help quicker than that? Are they really that busy?

    1. Spartacus

      Kate, have you contacted Broadsheet directly? I’m sure many of the readers here would like to see a firsthand opinion on this rather than a skewed view from those purporting to represent the interests of sex workers. Ruhama gives me the creeps, and I find myself becoming increasingly concerned at the level of support they appear to enjoy from the Irish Refugee Council and Doras Luimni.

      1. Kate

        No but I have spoken to the BBC in N.I and a few radio shows and explained how it is from my side of the fence. I also wrote a submission for the DAIL back in Spring 2012.

        1. Alfred E. Neumann

          Fair play. I would also be interested in hearing a fist-hand opinion, and I’m sure Broadsheet would host it.

          1. Alfred E. Neumann

            A-a-aaand that too is unfortunate. My typing hand seems to have been taken over by Benny Hill.

          2. Kate

            It made me chuckle and that’s not a bad thing :) Fists and hand go together like a bird and feather? Not my cup of tea mind lol

        2. Hashtag Diversity

          You should send a piece to Broadsheet. We need an end to this Ivana Bacik-Rhumama-Turn Off the Red Light one-sided propaganda. They’re exploiting YOUR right to do what you wish to do with their agendas. Put an end to their fundamentalism.

          1. Kate

            Well… since I just completed one diploma and my next one doesn’t start for a while, I may have time to write an article. I guess I could write one and see who would be interested. I wonder what the acceptable word count would be? I shall ponder on it :)

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