European & International News

Launch of an international network of survivors of prostitution and abuse - SPACE International

[Brussels, 25 July 2013] The European Women’s Lobby is pleased to share the press release launching SPACE International, a network of Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment. The voice of SPACE International is instrumental in the current context of many policy developments being discussed in several EU countries, including Ireland.

SPACE International states that: "We recognise that all systems of prostitution are interlinked, and that this remains so regardless who claims otherwise. Prostitution and sex-trafficking, for example, are intimately linked. Prostitution is the place where sex-trafficking happens, and the demand for prostitution is the reason why sex-trafficking happens."

The EWL welcomes the network, expresses its support and wishes survivors all the best in their mission and objectives!

Launch of SPACE International

Press release, 15 July 2013

We women gathered here today are members of SPACE International. SPACE stands for Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment. We are an international group of sex-trade survivors and our core membership currently spans Ireland, the US and the UK. We have come together for a single purpose – to call for the implementation of the Nordic Model in our respective countries.

We warmly welcome the recent recommendations by the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, which advise that the Irish government criminalise the demand for paid sex. In addition to the criminalisation of demand the Committee has made several other recommendations, including supporting the exit from prostitution of those who wish to do so; introducing the offence of grooming a child or vulnerable person for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and that the accessing of online brothel directories be made a criminal offence. We endorse all of these recommendations.

We agree with the conclusions of the Committees Chairman, Mr David Stanton, who said that the Committee had found persuasive evidence from Sweden that the demand for paid sex had been reduced there since the introduction of the ban on buying sex in 1999. He also stated that such a reduction in demand will lessen the incidences of harm associated with prostitution and weaken the economic basis for sex-trafficking into this State. Mr Stanton also said that the committee is of the view that a ban on the purchase of sex can be effectively and efficiently enforced by the Gardai.

In excess of 90% of people prostituted in Ireland today are young women from impoverished countries all over the world, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Nigeria and Brazil. The Gardai, in their evidence to the Committee in February of this year, clearly stated that prostitution in Ireland is overwhelmingly directed and controlled by organised crime. Pimping and trafficking gangs, both foreign and home-grown, have a stranglehold on prostitution in Ireland and have done for many years. For this reason we also welcome the recommendation of the Committee that the Criminal Assets Bureau be tasked with focusing on the finances and the flow of money to criminal organisations in the State and abroad.

We are here today to call on the Irish government to implement these recommendations with haste. Also, we would add a final recommendation of our own: in any legislation that is introduced to protect the citizens of the State, some people will always be left behind. We would like to see violent crimes against prostituted persons considered hate crimes under Irish law. This model of protecting women in prostitution has already been in effect, to great success, in Liverpool since 2006, and we see no reason why it could not or should not be incorporated into our new legal framework, so that those who remain in prostitution in Ireland will be fully protected under Irish Law.

SPACE was launched in the Irish Aid Centre, 27-31 Upper O Connell Street, at 10am today, 15th July 2013


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