Tag Archives: Sex Workers’ Alliance Ireland

Senator Ivana Bacik

Brian Dineen takes issue with Mia de Faoite’s article supporting the 2017 Irish law criminalising the purchase of sex.

However, he has missed her crucial point about decriminalisation of the (mostly women) sellers of sex.

It is true that the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 did not repeal some ancillary offences that can criminalise those engaged in organised prostitution or in pimping, such as the offences of brothel-keeping or of living off the earnings of a prostitute.

Most rational people would agree that these clearly exploitative behaviours should remain criminal offences.

But the 2017 Act did repeal the critical provision in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 under which many individual women had been prosecuted for the offence of offering their services as a prostitute in a street or public place.

This change has effectively decriminalised the practice of selling sex in public, as we suggested on the Oireachtas Justice Committee which recommended the introduction of the 2017 law.

Mr Dineen also suggests that the criminalisation of the (almost invariably) men who buy sex has led to increased violence against women engaged in prostitution.

However, there is no evidence for this assertion.

Indeed, on the Oireachtas Justice Committee we heard strong evidence from Sweden that criminalising buyers can have a significant effect on reducing demand for prostitution and thereby reducing the harms caused to women through prostitution.

Mia de Faoite and others have spoken powerfully from their own personal experience about these harms, and about the grim reality of selling sex; it is inherently dangerous.

That is why, as legislators, we sought to tackle harm through reducing demand.

Our law, like the 1999 Swedish law, is also premised upon the core principle of equality.

Laws that facilitate the purchase of sex undermine women’s equality by enabling men to buy sexual consent.

But if consent is bought, it is not freely chosen. Those who take issue with our 2017 law tend to overlook that reality.

Senator Ivana Bacik,
Seanad Éireann,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2.

Criminalising the purchase of sex (Irish Times letters page)

Alternatively…

Meanwhile…

Sex Workers Alliance Ireland tweetz:

We are looking for sex workers to participate in a study into the lived experiences of sex workers in the Republic of Ireland in relation to prostitution law, conducted by SWAI.

Please email linda@swai.eu if you are interested in talking to us

Sex Workers Alliance Ireland

Previously: “It Is An Extremely Dangerous Piece Of Legislation”

An Garda Síochána released a statement yesterday stating 36 people were stopped and spoken to by gardai “arising from suspicion of having purchased sexual services from an individual involved in prostitution” over the course of the weekend.

It stated:

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 criminalises the purchase of sexual services and the soliciting or purchasing of sex from a trafficked person.

On the 26th, 27th and 28th of April 2019, An Garda Síochána conducted intelligence-led operations across six of its divisions, nationally, urban and rural (DMR North, DMR East, DMR South Central, Wexford, Louth and Kildare) to target the demand for prostitution and to enforce legislation which criminalises the purchase of sexual services.

These Days of Action were coordinated by the ‘Operation Quest’ team at the Garda National Protective Services Bureau, in liaison with local Detective Units.

During the course of this intelligence-led operation, thirty-six individuals where stopped and spoken to by members of An Garda Síochána, arising from suspicion of having purchased sexual services from an individual involved in prostitution.

A number of files will now be prepared for forwarding to the Director of Public Prosecutions, with a view to establishing if any criminal prosecution should be initiated, arising from the Days of Action.

This operation reinforces An Garda Síochána’s commitment to target the demand for prostitution and to protect vulnerable persons, including victims of human trafficking involved in prostitution.

In response, the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland has noted the following…

From top: Senator David Norris and Senator Ivana Bacik

On Tuesday.

During Order of Business in the Seanad.

Senators Ivana Bacik and David Norris commented on reports from earlier this week about a 65-year-old Meath man who was the first person to be convicted under a new law which criminalises the purchase of sex from a sex worker.

Senator Bacik welcomed the conviction, Senator Norris didn’t.

From their contributions to the Seanad…

Ivana Bacik: “I express my satisfaction on seeing the first conviction reported today under the Swedish or Nordic model. My dear friend and colleague, Senator Norris, will not agree with me.”

David Norris: “I do not.”

Bacik:We are seeing the new law on prostitution being enforced and coming into effect.”

Norris:It is a disgrace.”

Bacik: “I commend gardaí for their work on it.”

Norris: “It is utter hypocrisy.”

Later

Norris: “I completely disagree with my colleague, Senator Bacik. I do not how anybody can be pleased about the prospect of a lonely 65-year-old man, coming from a deprived area of Dublin, being named and fined in court. It seems to me that this is rank and smug hypocrisy.

“I remember during the debate here, it flew in the face of all the academic research produced by Queen’s University, Belfast, which I put on the record. I urge anybody who wants to see that research and to know the truth about this matter to read the debate where I put these facts on the record.

Bacik: “Highly contested.”

Norris: “What was highly contested was the rubbish the Senator produced from Sweden.”

Separately.

Following the conviction, the Sex Workers’ Alliance Ireland group tweeted its thoughts on the matter – and highlighted that one implication of the new law is that it’s forcing sex workers to work alone, thus increasing their vulnerability: