A REMINDER OF WHAT TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY SAID TWO YEARS AGO, DÁIL QUESTIONS FEBRUARY 8th
Deputy Micheál Martin: Last evening, an appalling situation was revealed by the “Prime Time Investigates” programme on RTE, which dealt with prostitution and the illegal trafficking of women for prostitution in this country. The story that was portrayed was an horrific one, which represents a blight on our society and also has a strong European dimension. What we witnessed was a fundamental denial of the most basic human rights for women, much of it organised by various rings of people engaged in trafficking. There is endangerment and enslavement of women, as well as health and safety issues. The programme for Government lists the criminal law (sexual offences) Bill, which is intended to implement the EU directive on trafficking. Will the Taoiseach give Members a timetable for the publication of this Bill, because it would help address some of the issues raised in the programme yesterday?
Another important Bill in this regard is the criminal justice (proceeds of crime) Bill. This aims to strengthen the Criminal Assets Bureau, which has an important role to play in pursuing the organisers of these trafficking rings who are deeply embedded in prostitution. Can the Taoiseach indicate when the Government intends to publish that Bill? Is he satisfied with the resources available within the Garda Síochána to tackle this issue? Very low numbers of gardaí are involved directly in this area.
The Taoiseach: Although I did not see the programme referred to by the Deputy, I believe it showed the appalling abuse of women throughout the country. The Minister for Justice and Equality is considering criminal law in this area. The criminal law (sexual offences) Bill is due to be introduced to the House later in 2012. The Ruhama group, which works with women who are exploited and other persons so affected, is to be complimented on what it does. The Minister is also considering a number of structures under which the purchase of sex can be criminalised, as is the case in Sweden and a number of other locations. The programme makers are to be complimented on bringing this into the public domain. The use and abuse of these women by Irish men seems to have been extraordinarily prevalent. The Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Bill will be introduced later in 2012 and the Minister is actively considering several options that might be available to him in that regard.
Turn Off The Red Light is a campaign to end prostitution in Ireland now, and to end sex trafficking to Ireland. We are campaigning to criminalise the purchase of sex. Learn more about the campaign here.
Women and children are exploited in Ireland’s sex industry. Some have been trafficked into Ireland in order to be made work in the sex industry.
Very few women choose to willingly engage in prostitution. Most who are involved have had very few real choices.
Some argue that prostitution is a harmless, commercial transaction between consenting adults. That women choose to become involved in prostitution and should have the freedom to do so. We refute this. Learn more about countries where the purchase of sex has been criminalised here.
Women involved in prostitution suffer severe physical and emotional harm from providing sex to multiple partners on a daily basis.
They are vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, and to violent attack and the threat of violence.
They often live under the control over those who run the prostitution agency, and do not know to whom they are expected to provide sex, or what might be demanded from them at any moment. This can lead to extreme isolation and a sense of shame. Learn more about the myths and facts of prostitution here.
The campaign to “turn off the red light” is being run by an alliance of Irish non-governmental organisations. Learn more here.
Download our leaflet here
HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS A FORM OF SLAVERY
IT IS HAPPENING IN IRELAND. LET’S END IT NOW.
BE VIGILANT, CALL 1800 25 00 25 OR EMAIL BLUEBLINDFOLD@GARDA.IE
EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT THIS CRIME, VISIT WWW.BLUEBLINDFOLD.GOV.IE