Local campaigners are calling on TDs and Senators to move swiftly and update our prostitution laws following the conclusion of Dáil hearings on the issue.
Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan and Domestic Violence Advocacy Service are one of 65 organisations which make up the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign which has been seeking a change in the law for the past 4 years, and is warning that abuse, exploitation and trafficking has continued throughout that period.
Elaine Hanson of Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre said, “Organised criminals have used prostitution and the women involved to target our communities and line their own pockets. They are active throughout Co Sligo and have been undeterred by the current debate on the laws.
“The time for debating is now over, we are asking the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, TD and local politicians not to delay any longer. After four years of discussing this issue the time for new laws has arrived. Like all 65 organisations which make up the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign we believe the best way to end the abuse taking place in our communities is to target the buyers of sex. Inevitably reducing demand will hit the pimps, traffickers and criminals hard in the pocket and make them think again.
“Our partners include emergency frontline workers, unions, employers, survivors of prostitution, human rights groups such as the Immigrant Council of Ireland, as well local members of organisations like Macra Na Feirme, the ICA , Chambers Ireland and thousands of individuals.
“During the Dáil hearings Senior Gardaí confirmed that Irish and foreign criminal gangs are behind prostitution. They have targeted Co Sligo and Leitrim, and every other part of the country, this is a crime which has reached to both rural and urban Ireland.
“Our current laws do not work. We are being viewed by pimps as a soft target where they can set up in local apartment blocks, hotel rooms or above pubs and chip shops. This is unacceptable and our TDs must now move to end the human rights abuses taking place on our doorstep.”