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Prostitution Law in Ireland

Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law


Unsafe law...

Amnesty International finds that Ireland's prostitution laws facilitate violent attacks on sex workers

Link Here27th January 2022
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
Amnesty International has found that Ireland's prostitution laws are facilitating violent attacks against sex workers. Sex workers say they see police as a threat rather than a shield.

Research carried out by Amnesty International warned legislation implemented in 2017 was driving sex workers to put their lives at risk in a desperate bid to dodge the police. The organisation accused authorities of misusing the law, which was billed as being created to stop human trafficking and exploitation of sex workers. Amnesty reported:

Our research clearly shows that criminalising the purchase of sex is forcing sex workers to take more risks while penalising brothel-keeping is preventing sex workers from working together to ensure their own safety.

Ireland criminalised the buying of sex and substantially bolstered penalties dished out for brothel-keeping -- which is defined as two or more sex workers operating from the same property.

Many sex workers choose to work together to keep safe from clients but those doing so in Ireland can be sentenced to a year in jail or hit with a 5,000 euro (£4,187) fine under the 2017 laws.

The new research, based on interviews with sex workers, found most had been subjected to violence from clients while doing their jobs. But sex workers said they were too scared of the police to report attacks against them due to assuming the complaint would not be followed up - with them also voicing fears of experiencing harassment or violence from police officers.

The Irish government is presently reviewing the laws which are known as the Nordic Model after they were first introduced in Sweden.



Safer sex...

Maynooth University reports calls for Ireland's law criminalising sex buying to be repealed

Link Here12th September 2020
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
Sex workers feel less safe, more stigmatised and in greater fear of gardai since a law criminalising the purchase of sex was enacted, a report from Maynooth university warns.

Commissioned by HIV Ireland, the study looks at how the Part 4 of the Sexual Offences Act (2017) has impacted sex workers.

The report, which HIV Ireland is submitting to a government review of the legislation, says:

The findings ... point to the negative impact of current laws on the abilities of sex workers to keep safe and reduce harms to their health and well-being, in line with mounting evidence from other jurisdictions where sex buyer laws are in place.

While some international women's groups and radical feminists support the utility of such sex purchase laws to send a symbolic message on sexual behaviour there is little consideration of the impact on sex workers' safety.

The report, by Dr Paul Ryan and Dr Kathryn McGarry, of the Department of Sociology at Maynooth University, calls for the law to be repealed, to recognise the reality of sex work and keep those involved in it safe.



In nobody's interest...

Irish police have initiated just 2 prosecutions for buying sex

Link Here2nd April 2018
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
Gardai have only initiated 2 prosecutions under a law passed last year to criminalise the purchase of sex. The 2017 Sexual Offences Act -- which introduced the so-called Nordic model criminalises the customers of sex workers.

Under the law, women must be willing to participate in court proceedings against their clients. This contrasts with Scandinavia where the law lets police officers testify about the paid for sex.

The Times say Garda sources claim some women are often frightened to face a punter in court, as they may be linked to organised crime gangs who can threaten the women's family and friends. But in reality the women aren't going to do very well in business if they don't look after their customers.

Gardai sources also claim the force is missing out on valuable tip-offs from punters about trafficked women, because men are unsurprisingly unwilling to get involved when they themselves would be prosecuted.



Updated: A miserable day in Ireland...

Irish government decides to proceed with nasty bill to criminalise men for buying sex

Link Here 24th September 2015
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
The purchasing of sex will be outlawed under new criminal offences. Miserable ministers signed have agreed to a bill that will see those buying sex face fines of €500 or up to €5,000 if the person is trafficked.

'Justice' Minister Frances Fitzgerald is expected to publish the final legislation next week and make an announcement on when the new criminal offence will be enacted. It is unclear if it will or will not decriminalise sex workers in brothels or on the streets.

A group which calls itself the sex workers alliance of Ireland said it was a sad day for sex workers and that there are efforts in Sweden to decriminalise sex workers or soliciting by prostitutes.

Update: Discriminatory Law

24th September 2015. See  article from

New legislation on sexual offences criminalises paying for sex with prostitutes, but ensures the person offering sexual services is not guilty of a crime. Presumably Ireland does not have laws against inciting people (their customers) to commit a crime.

Minister for Injustice Frances Fitzgerald published the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 on Wednesday, claiming she was committed to addressing the very real and tragic crimes of trafficking and exploitation associated with prostitution. She said:

I am convinced that targeting the demand for such services is the way forward.

Ms Fitzgerald said her proposals mirrored the approach adopted in Northern Ireland and other jurisdictions which she said had seen a reduction in demand for the services provided by prostitutes.



Update: Cross Border Trade...

Irish anti-prostitution campaigners are quick to claim an increase in trade from Northern Ireland

Link Here2nd June 2015
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
Irish anti-prostitution campaigners have noted 26 extra profiles listed on escort agency websites in Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and Louth.

The campaign group, Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI, not a state body), has noted an increase in online escort profiles from 51 to 77.

The group is claiming this to be an in increase of prostitution activity in southern border counties of 51%.

Inevitably now that men will be persecuted for buying sex in the north, there will be a proportion of the sex trade that moves to more tolerant jurisdictions, but counting online profiles is no more than a stab in the dark about quantifying resultant cross border trade.

Brian Killoran of the ICI claimed:

The initial indications are that those who run prostitution have been feeling the heat of Northern Ireland's new laws even before they came into force and have been switching their operations to the South.

It is important that Gardai­ monitor the increase in online activity and use our existing laws to ensure that pimps and traffickers are not viewing our border counties and major cities as safe havens after their business model has been wrecked in the North.

It is also essential that the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, honour her commitment to publish sex buyer laws here and that we join Northern Ireland, the US, Canada and Sweden in shutting down the organised crime behind prostitution.



Update: A very very scary model for Irish sex workers...

More details on the Irish proposed law to criminalise people buying sex

Link Here 5th December 2014
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law

The Republic of Ireland's government has introduced a bill that will make it a criminal offence to pay for sex.

The bill comes a year after the Oireachtas 'Justice' Committee's Report on the Review of the Legislation on Prostitution in Ireland made the recommendation that the purchase of sexual services should be made illegal.

'Justice' Minister Frances Fitzgerald introduced the new legislation on November 27th , claiming that her proposed bill reflects an all-island consensus to targeting the predominantly exploitative nature of prostitution. The draft legislation makes purchasing sexual services a general offence, and the purchasing of sexual services from trafficked persons a more serious offence. The Irish Department of 'Justice' said:

In both cases, the persons selling the sexual service will not be subject to an offence Unlike the existing offences relating to prostitution such as soliciting, loitering or brothel keeping, this offence will specifically target the demand for prostitution.

However, as Ireland-based activist and writer Wendy Lyon pointed out on Twitter, the offence of paying for sexual services will be inserted into the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 as Section 5A and there is no repeal of any of the parts of the 1993 Act that currently criminalises sex workers. This bill will NOT decriminalise sex workers she wrote.

An Irish sex worker, Jenny, said:

I think [the Swedish Model] is a very very scary model and that people don't truly understand how far-reaching it can be.

You're basically playing cat and mouse against the police all the time if you introduce the Swedish model and you're just trying to work against the police and you're not getting any help. It's bad enough as it is already. It's going to be worse if they introduce the Swedish Model.



Update: Jailing men so a few women can feel good about their equality...

Irish Government set to publish bill to criminalise people who pay for sex

Link Here26th November 2014
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
The Irish Government is officially making it illegal to pay for sexual services. It has been confirmed that a new bill, to be published on Thursday, will criminalise prostitution for the first time.

The legislation will make it illegal to pay for sexual services.



Offsite Article: 2014 Jefferson Muzzles...

Link Here 14th April 2014
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
The US government wins the dubious honour of a Jefferson Muzzle for snooping on the news media

See article from



Update: Instead of asking sex workers about their lives, the media asks anti-prostitution campaigners...

For the first time, men and women selling sex indoors in Ireland have been asked about their lives by, and the findings harshly contradict the media image of sex workers in Ireland

Link Here20th September 2013
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law invited Irish indoor sex workers to take part in the research, which aimed to learn more about escorts in Ireland and particularly about their experiences of crime and abuse. This is the first ever survey of indoor sex workers in Ireland and 195 female, male and trans* escorts took part. Although the survey cannot be considered representative of all persons selling sex in Ireland, 195 participants is a very significant proportion of the Irish sex worker population.

The escorts who took part in the survey were from 29 different countries. Most were aged in their 20s or 30s and highly educated. Just over half had worked in sex work in another country prior to becoming an escort in Ireland. 97.3% were self-employed independent escorts, though 33.3% had experience of working for a third party, e.g. an escort agency, in Ireland or elsewhere in the past.

Despite it being popularly reported in the media that children are involved in prostitution, there was no evidence of the involvement of any under 16s and only one participant was aged under 18.

Participants reported low alcohol and drug use, high condom use, and taking a number of security measures whilst working as an escort, the top ones being not getting in cars with clients (65.3%), taking more precautions when it is a new client (58.1%) and not working alone (41.1%) despite the laws in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland that force escorts to work alone if they want to work legally.

Ireland's sex worker population overwhelmingly works indoors with access to phones and the Internet, which is safe conditions, in comparison to outdoor sex working. However, many of the participants reported experiences of a wide range of crime and abuses. It is also clear that a wide range of persons commit crime against sex workers in Ireland, not only clients.

66.7% of participants who had been a victim of crime whilst working as an escort in Ireland did not report to the police. The high level of stigma associated with being an escort being the primary barrier to engaging with police.

Participants said that other escorts were the biggest source of help to them after experiencing crime. The research confirmed that currently there are no useful support services for escorts in Ireland, but escorts would welcome the establishment of a variety of sex worker support services.

Fear of media exposure amongst escorts in Ireland is very high, even higher than fear of crime, with 74.6% of participants worried or very worried about being exposed as an escort in the newspapers or other media.

Recommendations include further research, a review of laws and policies that put sex workers at risk, tackling media abuse of sex workers and the provision of police sex worker liaison services and general advice, legal advice, health services and exiting services for sex workers.

The full report outlines that a number of factors put escort at risk of violence and abuse. The lack of support services and good relations with police, mean offenders specifically target escorts, in the belief that they are people in society without any help, who offenders can abuse with a very low risk of facing any consequences as a result. The media portrayal of escorts as people with no rights, no choices, helpless victims who can't say no to anything or anybody, is also sending a very dangerous message to offenders. is a scheme that aims to improve the safety of sex workers in Ireland and reduce crimes committed against them, by bringing sex workers together to share information about potential dangers.

Commenting on the research, said:

There has never been any independent research into indoor sex work in Ireland. Instead of asking sex workers about their lives, we ask anti-prostitution campaigners. As our initial research here has shown, the Irish public are being grossly misled. Proper independent research must now be carried out now to establish the reality of indoor sex work in Ireland, so sensible legislation can be put in place.



Update: Austerity of Compassion...

Nasty Irish MP to introduce bill to jail men just for paying for sex

Link Here 3rd May 2013
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law

Legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex will be introduced to the Dail tomorrow. The Criminal Law Sexual Offences Bill, to be introduced by Independent TD Thomas Pringle, sets out to impose harsh criminal sanctions on those who pay for sex.

Persecution of men via the so called Swedish model is being advocated in Ireland by the Turn off the Red Light Campaign. The campaign, is endorsed by 68 organisations including various gender extremist groups eg Ruhama, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Labour Party and Barnardos.

Pringle claimed:

[The Bill] will reduce the demand for sexual services, thereby reducing the incidence of prostitution in society. It will create a situation that will remove the attractiveness of prostitution and trafficking from organised criminal elements by creating the risk for purchasers of sexual services to be prosecuted with the element of 'name and shame' acting as a deterrent.

Penalties The Bill provides for an ascending scale of penalties, from a fixed-notice fine of EUR500 for first-time offenders, to a EUR4,000 fine and/or four-week jail sentence for repeat offenders.



Update: An obvious psychological and physical need for sex...

Rare compassion from an Irish lawmaker on the subject of buying sex

Link Here17th January 2013
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law

Ireland's Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality yesterday heard arguments for and against the criminalisation of buying sex.

It was good to hear of a little compassion from one lawmaker.

Senator Mary White said she had compassion for those who had no access to legitimate sexual relationships . She said people had an obvious psychological and physical need for sex and she asked if the selling of sex should not be legitimised to protect the buyer and the seller.

...Read the full article



Update: Miserable in the Extreme...

Ruhama response published to Irish government consultation on sex work law

Link Here 11th September 2012
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law is an escort advertising company's blog on the 2012 Irish Government consultation on prostitution.

The site is keeping track of submissions to the Irish governments consultation on changing the country's prostitution laws.

The site has analysed the submission from the umbrella campaign group Turn Off the Red Light. It has also just published the consultation result from the most extremist of the Irish anti prostitution campaigners of Ruhama . Predictably it has called for extreme punishments to all activities linked to sex work and of course the criminalisation of people who purchase sex.



Update: Decent People...

Escort Ireland calls for politicians to listen to sex workers

Link Here3rd September 2012
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law

Miserable Irish politicians considering banning prostitution have been urged to back off by a leading escort agency.

MPs and senators mulling over new laws to outlaw customers paying for sex have even been invited to visit the offices of Escort Ireland. The web firm submitted a lengthy appeal to the Leinster House committee looking at law changes. Their submission states:

We believe there is nothing wrong with someone paying for sexual services and most clients are decent people.

We don't think adults should be prosecuted for privately paying other consenting adults for sex. Escort Ireland, which by-passes a ban on advertising sex services by operating from the UK, warned against driving the business underground. They added:

We feel the views of sex workers are the views that need to be heard more than any others.

'Justice' and Equality Committee member and Fine Gael TD David Stanton said:

The committee should be careful about what weight it affords certain submissions like this one. There are all sorts of people involved in prostitution and they have their own agendas.



Update: Miserable Ireland...

Campaigners want to end sex work to prevent the 8 cases of trafficking last year

Link Here17th August 2012
Full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law

A miserable campaign to criminalise men who pay for sex has launched billboards in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford.

Denise Charlton, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland which has helped support the campaign, said all avenues need to be explored to raise awareness and force a law change. She said The story of Anna depicted on the billboards is in no way unique and reflects a reality which exists in every county in Ireland.

The Turn Off The Red Light Campaign cited Department of Justice figures for 2011 which show that eight children were trafficked into Ireland for sexual exploitation, with 15 detected in 2010.

Charlton said: Public support is needed to bring about real change and we hope the billboard and Twitter campaign will motivate people to contact their local politicians and demand that the sex trade is shut down by making it illegal to pay for sex.

Turn Off The Red Light campaigns to end prostitution in Ireland and is backed by more than 50 organisations including trade unions, political parties and nutter groups. It wants to make Ireland's vice laws similar to Sweden where people who pay for sex are criminalised before the prostitute.


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