The Immigrant Council of Ireland is welcoming a decision of Longford County Council to pass a motion supporting a change in the law to make it an offence to pay for sex.
It is the second County Council in recent weeks to call for such a change and comes as a Government review of the laws on prostitution is underway.
Welcoming the decision Denise Charlton, CEO of the Immigrant Council said: “This decision by Longford County Council, which follows a similar move by Councillors in Leitrim, could not be more timely as it coincides with the first opportunity in years to change the law and help put people traffickers, pimps and other criminals out of business.
“We are one of 50 partners which form the ‘Turn Off the Red Light Campaign’ currently preparing submissions for Government asking that payments for sex be outlawed in line with measures being taken in other European States. We are groups of many backgrounds including trade unions, farming, human rights, victims representatives and many others.
“We have examined the experience abroad and firmly believe that the only way to end a sex trade and end the threats, abuse and violence against women is to target supply. Public and political support is vital if we are to secure legal change which is why the actions of the County Councils in Longford and Leitrim are so important. We will continue to ask other local authorities to also show their support in the coming weeks.
“As a campaign we have been greatly encouraged by the high level of support we have received from politicians across all sides, however it is important the commitments secured are now followed up with action.
The window to bring about change is short with a deadline of August 31st for written submissions with oral hearings to follow. It is time now for others to follow the lead of Leitrim and Longford and join us in ensuring we Turn Off the Red Light.”