(Dublin 23 September) Ruhama Supports Northern Ireland’s Bill on Trafficking and Exploitation
Ruhama strongly welcomes the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Billhttp://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Assemb... which goes to second hearing at the Northern Ireland Assembly today.
The Bill, which was introduced by Lord Maurice Morrow, sets out a range of robust measures to strengthen existing legislation and improve Northern Ireland’s efforts in combating human trafficking. In particular, Ruhama welcomes the focus on the demand in the sex trade and the inclusion of sanctions for the buyers of sexual services.
Gerardine Rowley, Policy and Communications Manager, Ruhama said: “Lord Morrow’s Bill takes the courageous step in addressing the unequivocal role of sex buyers in creating a market for traffickers and pimps; contributing to the wide spread abuse of women.”
This Bill before the Northern Ireland Assembly today is timely as the Irish Government has just concluded an extensive consultation process on the future direction of prostitution legislation in the Republic of Ireland. The subsequent report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Justice made unanimous recommendations in favour of criminalising the sex buyer. They also recommend that those in prostitution be protected from criminalisation, which reflects the provision made in Clause 6 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill.
Gerardine Rowley said: “When it comes to the sex trade, criminals don’t respect any border and women are moved around the island of Ireland on a daily basis; as a frontline service supporting women, this is something that we have direct experience of. It is therefore crucial that an all island legislative approach is needed when tackling organised prostitution and sex trafficking.”
Gerardine Rowley went on to say “We call on all parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly to support Lord Morrow’s Bill and send out a clear message that the exploitation of women and girls in the sex trade will not be tolerated. We are very hopeful that similar legislation to tackle demand will also follow soon in the Dail.”
Ruhama is a core group member of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign; a broad coalition of 68 organisations including violence against women services, unions, migrant support groups, men’s and children’s services, all calling on legislation to tackle demand in the Republic of Ireland. Ruhama and other members of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign have met with politicians from Northern Ireland since the introduction of Lord Morrow’s Bill and will be in Stormont for today’s hearing of the Bill.
To read the bill, please see here.
Ruhama is a Dublin based NGO, working with women affected by prostitution and sex trafficking. It service users includes women located in Northern Ireland’s sex trade. www.ruhama.ie
Ruhama’s submission to the Department of Justice (Republic of Ireland) on the future direction of prostitution legislation in Ireland – Auguest 2012 http://www.ruhama.ie/easyedit/files/dec12fullsubmissiontooireachtas%20Word.pdf
Review on Prostitution Legislation by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice – report published 27th June, 2013 and available here in 3 parts. http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/oireachtasbusiness/committees_list/jde-committee/reports/
Link to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Bill in Northern Ireland: http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Assembly-Business/Legislation/Current-Non-Executive-Bill-Proposals/Human-Trafficking-and-Exploitation-Further-Provisions-and-Support-for-Victims-Bill-/