At the national level

EWL and its partners contribute to the Irish consultation on prostitution

[Brussels, 22 August 2012] The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) has sent this month its contribution to the Irish consultation ‘Review of Legislation on Prostitution’, initiated by the the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence. The National Women’s Council of Ireland is also preparing a contribution, and the alliance Turn Off the Red Light (TORL) is launching hers on 24 August.

In their submission, the EWL and the TORL campaign call on the Irish government to update the outdated legislation that tolerates prostitution in Ireland, and to introduce penalties for men who purchase sex and thus fuel the Irish sex industry where women and young people are abused and destroyed.

Union leaders from major Irish unions will speak at the launch of TORL’s contribution to remind that prostitution is not a job because it is incompatible with dignity and safety associated with occupation. They add their voice to the call on the Government to amend the old legislation and to make it in line with the best European practice models that focus on reduction of demand for prostitution.

EWL’s submission is based on its expertise as European-wide organisation which has been compiling for years knowledge and information about the issue of prostitution in Europe. Therefore, the EWL is pleased to share its expertise with the Irish government and hopes that it will consider each aspect of the submission:

  • The issue of prostitution in international and European human rights instruments
  • Assessment of 10 years of Swedish and Dutch policies on prostitution
  • Recent developments in other countries
  • EWL’s principles and recommendations on prostitution
  • EWL’s work on prostitution and trafficking in women for prostitution

The EWL strongly calls on the Irish government to pass a new legislation that would make the purchase of a sexual service a crime, while protecting prostituted persons and offering them support and alternatives, and sanctioning all forms of procuring. For the EWL, the forthcoming Irish Presidency of the EU would be the best momentum for the Irish government to prove its political commitment to protect all women from all forms of violence and add a stone towards the achievement of equality between women and men by abolishing the system of prostitution in Ireland and making it a crime to buy sex.

On 21 August 2012, Northern Ireland joined in the review process by launching their own consultation on the issue of demand for paid sex. Immigrant Council of Ireland, which spear-heads the TORL campaign in Ireland and is a member of the EWL, welcomes the debate on the North, and states that this is the only way to push the pimps and traffickers out of the island of Ireland. The EWL might also contribute to this consultation to make women’s voice heard in the policy development in Northern Ireland.

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