Dáil passes new bill to tackle organised crime in sex trade
By Staff Reporter
Campaigners have welcomed the passing of the Sexual Offences Bill to criminalise the purchase of sex and provide protections for vulnerable people exploited by prostitution.
Now the more than 70 partners in Turn Off the Red Light are calling on the Seanad to pass the bill into law.
“There is a reason this legislation has been called the most important since the formation of the State,” said Denise Charlton, chair of the Turn off the Red Light campaign. “The bill shifts attention to the perpetrators of sexual crime, and those who enable abuse and exploitation to continue.
“The sex trade in Ireland is worth €250m to pimps and traffickers annually, and the Irish Government is making a clear statement that we will stand together with those being exploited to stop this exploitation. Targeting buyers means we can reduce the demand for women and children to be coerced into selling sexual services.
Charlton praised Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald for showing “real leadership in prioritising legislation that supports children, women and men who are rarely given a voice in our society.”
The campaign chair added that its partners are now looking forward to the bill passing the Seanad in the coming weeks.
“Every day that this legislation is delayed puts women, children and men at risk of further abuse, and puts thousands of euros into the pockets of pimps, thugs and traffickers.”