European & International News

Ireland: Sex buyer laws supported by 21 local councils

[Statement by Immigrant Council and Men’s Development Network, Dublin, 20 November 2013] Sex buyer laws aimed at ending exploitation, abuse and human trafficking are supported by 21 Local Authorities across the country following a wave of votes during October and November, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland and the Men’s Development Network

The Council, one of the founding members of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign, is calling on the Government to end its 17-month review of the laws on prostitution and take action.

In June the Oireachtas Justice Committee also unanimously backed the introduction of laws against the buyers of sex.

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said:

“The decisions of local councils to support the Turn Off the Red Light campaign again shows that communities in all parts of Ireland want pimps, traffickers and organised crime shut down.

Together with the 67 other organisations which make up the campaign we welcomed and actively engaged with the Government’s review of the laws on prostitution which culminated with the unanimous Justice Committee recommendations for sex buyer laws.

However, while we have been debating and making evidence based arguments for reforming laws which are not fit for purpose, the criminals have continued their exploitation.

The figures speak for themselves, 48 victims of trafficking identified in 12 months, of which 23 children. Most victims were sexually exploited. That is a reality which no modern democracy should tolerate.”

Alan O’Neill of the Men’s Development Network, which is leading the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign in the South East, added:

“All political parties should now accept the unanimous recommendations of the Justice Committee and use them for the basis of drafting new laws. With the political support for all sides of the house this should not be a lengthy process.

We at the Mens Development Network are delighted with Council votes in Tipperary, Waterford, Carlow and Kilkenny which sends out the message that we are standing up to exploitation and abuse of women and girls.”

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