Minster Publishes Sexual Offences Bill

23rd September 2015 -The measures targeting sex buyers in the new Sexual Offences Bill is an opportunity to remove a vicious, brutal and exploitative crime from our local communities.

Local campaigners say the publication of laws against buying sex is an historic opportunity to bring our laws into line with Northern Ireland and the growing international trend to target demand for prostitution and sex trafficking.

It is important now that all politicians unite and ensure that the laws become reality before Christmas.

As one of the 73 organisations with 1.6 million members who make up the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign YWCA Ireland welcome the fact that the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, TD has acted upon the overwhelming evidence that organised crime runs Irish prostitution.

Similar laws are already a reality in Northern Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Canada and are expected to be in force in France in the New Year. They are also supported by the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Ireland must keep up with this trend if we are to avoid our local communities being used as a safe haven for prostitution and related crimes.

Already sex buyers are putting about €600,000 directly into the thugs who have brought organised crime to every corner of our country – second only to the drugs trade.

Sex buyer laws have already been the subject of extensive debate and review over several years and have the unanimous backing of the Oireachtas Justice Committee. Together with other members of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign we are asking politicians to take action and make sure the laws are in force for Christmas.

It is important too that women and girls in prostitution are given every possible protection and support rather than being treated like criminals. We will be seeking commitments in this regard as the measures are debated through the Dáil and Seanad.

Ireland’s moment has arrived and we are ready to play our part to ensure pimps and traffickers will no longer be able to lurk in the shadows of our communities.

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