People Before Profit welcomes the Seanad review of legislation on prostitution, and further welcomes the opportunity for organizations and individuals to make an impact on any future legislation that effects them directly. People Before Profit supports the call of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) to fully decriminalize sex work.
The current legislation on sex work is unfit for purpose – People Before Profit introduced the amendment to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill in 2017 and have put forward Parliamentary Questions on the effectiveness of the Bill. By seeking ‘protection’ for women through criminalising the purchase of sex, the legislation makes sex work a much more dangerous occupation and limits how sex workers can avail of state services. Crime against sex workers has almost doubled in the two years since new laws were implemented.
Irish policy and law on sex work has served to deepen already existing inequalities, compound stigma and contribute to unsafe working conditions which place sex workers at increased risk. It is only through decriminalisation means that sex workers’ human rights and safety become an institutional priority.
People Before Profit calls for allies to fill out the Public Consultation Questionnaire on Section 7 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 (here: http://justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Review_of_the_Operation_of_Part_4_of_the_Criminal_Law_(Sexual_Offences)_Act_2017 ) and has recommended the following in relation to a review of the prostitution legislation:
- The full decriminalisation of sex work. This is to be done through the funding and support of sex worker organisations who work to improve the lives of sex workers across Ireland.
- Ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from prosecution, exploitation, trafficking and violence.
- The removal of any legislation which targets sex workers or victims of trafficking/sexual exploitation.
- Direct consultation with sex workers and the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland in drafting policy and legislation. The SWAI is the only sex-worker led organisation in Ireland has no say in the legislation and policy stances and adopted on sex work.