Let’s Talk About Sex Work

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This afternoon.

Members of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) launch a briefing paper at Buswells Hotel, Dublin to highlight the need for a “human rights based approach” to supporting people who sell sexual services in Ireland.

The report (available at link below) urges laws that promote safety and stresses that “not all sex workers are victims”

Second pic from left: Wendy Lyon, Solicitor and Blogger (Feministire.com), Kate McGrew, Sex Worker, and Activist, Derbhla Ryan, member of the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland and Billie from, Community Support Project Worker GOSHH (Gender Orientation Sexual Health HIV).

Sex Workers Alliance (Facebook)

Previously: Eyes Wide Shut

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

33 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Sex Work

    1. brytothey

      Criminalising their profession only pushes it further underground, as sex workers seek to protect their clients. While illegal, sex workers can’t turn to police when intimidated or in danger for fear of prosecution and there’s sick and twisted people who have in the past and who will take advantage of this.

      It should be regulated, as in illegal unless with a registered sex worker. Every transaction should be registered. And sex workers should be in regular contact with social workers and STI clinics for check ups etc. This would make it safer for both sex worker and client.

      Making it illegal is just trying to force the problem under the carpet. It won’t deter it and just make the situation worse.

      1. kellma

        I agree. It happens and will continue to happen. I do have my doubts whether anyone really makes an “informed” choice to do this for a living. My view would be that most women (and men) who choose to work in this “field” have underlying psychological issues and are therefore, even with a legalized framework, still vulnerable people being exploited, but the fact is, it happens and for me, the best response to it is to give it a framework so you can control the exploitation to some degree.

        1. Bejayziz

          “My view would be that most women (and men) who choose to work in this “field” have underlying psychological issues”……are you a psychologist?

          1. kellma

            No I am not, but you don’t have to be a psychologist to have a view do you? I didn’t say my view was correct and without exception. Or am i missing something? My opinion is based not on any doctorate but, being honest, purely on various documentaries, books etc, with the outcome being that I have formed a view that it hard to find a sex worker who is not in some way emotionally vulnerable/injured.

          2. joe cool

            How about those with no emotional/psychology disorders who just do it for the money? Tge class of needy troll has gone way down on here

        2. Lilly

          + 1 Kelma. Even blogger Belle du Jour when she came out turned out to come from a pretty dysfunctional family background.

          1. The Lady Vanishes

            @Lily

            Many supposedly ‘functional’ family backgrounds a lot more dysfunctional, behind the scenes, than Belle de Jour.

            But I agree about the risk of exploitation. A high percentage of sex workers (male and female) have a history of having been neglected and abused as children, irrespective of whether or not their vunerability is what draws them to such work – which might, and sometimes might not, be the case – they should be protected against exploitation.

  1. Soundings

    “Criminalising their profession only pushes it further underground”

    Ditto with dog fighting, bear baiting and a few other activities which society in general doesn’t approve of.

    You omit to say that pushing it underground will significantly reduce its incidence. The Republic should follow the lead of Northern Ireland and criminalise the buyer, shift the focus away from the sex worker.

    Not all sex workers are victims, but enough of them are to justify criminalisation.

    If men (and women) want to continue to buy sex then England is just a couple of hours away.

    1. brytothey

      Why do you want to reduce its incidence?

      People want to reduce the violence and exploration against sex workers, not the incidence of sex work. Whatever people do behind closed doors (once nobody is being hurt) has nothing to do with you or me.

      1. Soundings

        “Whatever people do behind closed doors (once nobody is being hurt) has nothing to do with you or me.”

        That’s not true of course. If one adult wants to do serious harm to another adult, even if both adults consent, then that is my business. An absurd example would be if one adult wanted to cannibalise another and the other agreed because they were mentally unhinged. It’s an absurd example though it has happened.

        The trouble with prostitution is there are so many victims that if we allow two adults to have sex behind closed doors, there is a chance – and we can debate the probability – that the prostitute is being abused. Criminalising it will drive it underground – no question about it. But it will reduce the incidence.

        That’s why I support a change to the law down here to criminalise the purchase of sex.

        1. Joe the Lion

          That’s why the poster said ‘(once nobody is being hurt)’

          Are you completely simple?

          Last time I tried it, cannibalism resulted in someone getting hurt.

        2. Ciarán

          The trouble with male-female sex is there are so many victims that if we allow two adults to have sex behind closed doors, there is a chance – and we can debate the probability – that the one of them is being abused.

    2. brytothey

      My argument is that criminalisation will increase the number of victims (for the reasons outlined above), even if it does decrease the incidence.

    3. Starina

      dogs and bears can’t consent to the fights. If we legalise sex work then it will be more clear who has been forced to do sex work and who has chosen that profession. Legalise it, offer free or very discounted STI tests for sex workers, and prosecute those who abuse them.

  2. Hashtag Diversity

    Another assault on personal freedom by the Una Mullallys and Ivana Baciks of this world. #Stasi.

    1. Ciarán

      How are these people assaulting personal freedom by urging a “human rights based approach” to prostitution, unless you mean the personal freedom of certain people to deny sex workers basic human rights?
      Genuinely interested to hear you expand upon your presumably well thought out argumentation.

    2. Atlas

      No, that’s the motley crew of radical feminists and Magdalene nuns operating under the front ‘Turn Off The Red Light’.

      These ones are the good guys.

  3. lolly

    this programme on channel 4 recently profiled the mega brothels in Germany.
    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-mega-brothel
    I only caught the last half of it however but from what I saw the workers interviewed were there voluntarily (sort of) but none sounded like they enjoyed their work. it was a fascinating insight and also talked about how there are still pimps and trafficking just as before. the Swedish model doesn’t seem to work either as it creates a legal limbo for the girls and hasn’t helped. I gather in Liverpool the police take a tolerant attitude to the trade itself but come down very very hard on traffickers and on violence against workers and that approach seems to be working.

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-mega-brothel

  4. lolly

    this programme on channel 4 recently profiled the mega brothels in Germany.
    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-mega-brothel
    I only caught the last half of it however but from what I saw the workers interviewed were there voluntarily (sort of) but none sounded like they enjoyed their work. it was a fascinating insight and also talked about how there are still pimps and trafficking just as before. the Swedish model doesn’t seem to work either as it creates a legal limbo for the girls and hasn’t helped. I gather in Liverpool the police take a tolerant attitude to the trade itself but come down very very hard on traffickers and on violence against workers and that approach seems to be working.

  5. B

    do you honestly think its a nice job. if it was that the case we would be all doing it. its not going to go away. over 80 escorts within walking distance of me now i prefer to spend my money on rashers

    1. kellma

      Yeah personally i cant imagine it being a “nice ” job and I also cant imagine the pay is all that great. Even being generous and assuming money is a motivator and your take home is on par with the average junior civil servant, I find it hard to believe that someone would opt for sex work instead of a job with the revenue. Try submitting those earnings as the basis for a mortgage approval….. What I am trying to say in a round about way is, although there is maybe a few sex workers who are well adjusted individuals, who had a good start in life, came from a loving family, had education opportunities and don’t suffer with bi polar, depression, schizo-affective disorder etc.. ( I personally have never heard of any in the various media outputs on this topic) but still decided this was the career for them; based on the previous I really cannot imagine that there are many who fall into this category.

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