Senator David Norris brought up the subject of prostitution, Ruhama and the Turn Off The Red Light campaign in the chamber this morning.
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.
‘Only 2% of sex workers who responded to the survey supported criminalising the purchase of sex. 61% of NI-based sex workers in the survey thought it would make them less safe. 85% believed that it would not reduce sex trafficking. Only 16% of respondents to the client survey said it would make them stop paying for sex altogether. There is likely to be significant difficulties with enforcement.’
New research from Queen’s University – the first time that “people involved in selling and buying sexual services have been directly approached in relation to prostitution policy in Northern Ireland”.
Mark Malone writes:
Looks like critics of the Turn Of The Red Light campaign have real empirical evidence to support their position. Its about time similar research was done here.
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.