Violence against sex workers
Sir, – Further to the article “’Dramatic rise’ in attacks on sex workers since law change” (News, September 4th), the Immigrant Council of Ireland expresses its deep concern about the reported violence against those involved in prostitution. We urge the proper implementation of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act to ensure adequate protections, and that exit routes are provided for those facing such horrifically dangerous situations.
The increase in reporting of violence could likely be attributed to the protection offered by decriminalisation, which the law offers to people involved in prostitution, who are now at liberty to assert their safety. They can now report violence to the public and to the police without any fear of criminal repercussions in the process, which was not possible before the adoption of the law.
The awful reality is that working in prostitution is inherently dangerous. The underpinning ethos of the new legislation is to better protect women and focus instead on the pimps, traffickers and buyers. While the decriminalisation of the seller is ensured without additional measures, the prosecution of clients requires additional implementation measures, such as training for the Garda and prioritisation of enforcement. Agencies such as Ruhama continue to work closely with the Garda to facilitate training.
The safety and protection of those involved in prostitution is the central concern here. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act must be enforced at the earliest opportunity to deliver those essential protections and also provide workable exit routes for everyone enduring sexual exploitation. – Yours, etc,