Target users to stop trafficking

Date:
29 Sep 2011

Gianluca Avagnina

Making the purchase of sex a criminal offence could reduce sex trafficking and prostitution in Ireland, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) and support group Ruhama.

An information exchange was organised in Dublin this week between agencies working in the area and police from Norway and Sweden, where legislation that prohibits the purchasing of sex is currently in force.

”We are confident that today’s exchange will increase awareness and understanding of the importance of penalising the purchase of sex as a measure to reduce prostitution and trafficking,” said Denise Charlton of the ICI.

She said that a 10-year review of the effects of the 1999 legislation in Sweden had shown that street prostitution had halved, and organised criminal activity had reduced dramatically.

According to Ruhama, an NGO which works with women affected by prostitution, commercial sexual exploitation affects over 1,000 women and girls, most of them migrants.

According to Ruhama’s Sarah Benson, the group is ”acutely aware of the harmful effects of the sex trade”.

”We believe it is imperative that the rapidly increasing Irish sex trade — which has expanded throughout the country in recent years and exploited thousands of women — is seriously tackled,” she said.

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