Ireland, which campaigners say remains a “highly lucrative place for pimps and sex-traffickers”, could become a world leader in the fight against prostitution, an international expert on the issue has said.
Norma Ramos, the executive director of the New York-based Coalition Against Human Trafficking, an international non-governmental organisation working on the issues for more than 30 years, is in Ireland with a number of other campaigners to urge the Government to quickly enact legislation criminalising the purchase of sex. Their visit coincides with European Day Against Human Trafficking, which falls today.
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is considering a recommendation from the Oireachtas Committee on Justice that Ireland introduce the "Nordic model" of legislation which targets the purchasers of sex.
Cherie Jimenez, the Boston director of Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment (Space) said the US authorities would "really sit up and take notice" if Ireland enacted the Nordic model. She said the work of such campaigners as Rachel Moran and Justine Reilly, who were themselves prostituted, and their involvement in the Turn Off The Red Light campaign, marked Ireland out as "a place where really exciting things were happening in the fight against sex trafficking".
Ms Moran, co-founder of Space International, said Ireland remained a "highly lucrative place for pimps and traffickers" despite the recession. Ms Reilly said the going cost of buying a woman or girl for sex was €150 for 30 minutes or €250 for an hour. "There's a lot of money being made here from women and girls," she said.