Policing and sex work

 

Sir, – That the Garda Síochána is conducting operations targeting consensual paid sex between adults would be unfortunate in any circumstances (“Garda operation aimed to raise awareness on sex purchasing laws”, News, April 30th). However, that such operations are being led by the Garda National Protective Services Bureau is deeply pernicious.

The bureau is supposed to be leading a nationwide improved Garda response to the serious crimes of sexual violence and child sexual abuse. Yet, at the same time, it is being positioned as the division of the Garda responsible for the policing of paid adult consensual sex. Critically, this means people in sex work cannot trust the bureau. We know sex workers are currently suffering unprecedentedly high levels of serious crime, including many sexual assaults. We have recorded a 92 per cent rise in violent crime in the two years since the new law came in. If any unit of the Garda­ other than the bureau were given the responsibility of running operations against paid sex between consenting adults, at least then some people in sex work might feel able to report some of the serious crime they are experiencing to the bureau.

The Garda Commissioner should be acting immediately to move the contentious “Operation Quest” outside of the bureau. Until such time as that happens, the bureau’s doors are shut to some of the most vulnerable people in society. – Yours, etc,

LUCY A SMYTH,

Director,

UglyMugs.ie, Dublin 1.