Two local groups who provide services to sexual and domestic abuse victims in Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan are welcoming the announcement of a Government public consultation on amending Irish law to make it an offence to pay for sex.
The Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre and Domestic Violence Advocacy Service, say that an amendment could pave the way for removing human traffickers, pimps and other criminals from local communities.
The local groups are part of the national ‘Turn off the Red Light’ campaign which has been seeking a change in the law to protect women from being trapped into a life where threats, abuse and violence are a constant threat.
Spokesperson Niamh Wilson of Domestic Violence Advocacy Service said: “While at first glance the announcement of the consultation may seem technical or administrative with a lot of legal jargon, in reality it is an opportunity to send a strong message to those involved in trafficking and brothel-keeping that they are not welcome in our communities.
The loophole in the law has been used by criminal elements to traffick women into every county in Ireland often under false pretences only to be trapped into a life of abuse. As local organisations, Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre and DVAS have been active in the national campaign seeking a change in the law to end human rights abuses taking place right on our doorsteps.
Together with 52 organisations including leading trade unions, political parties, groups representing young people and victims representatives we have worked and lobbied to bring about a change in the law.
“The Consultation is a first step, we will now use this period to educate people and public representatives about the need to take action.
“We appreciate the support which councillors, Senators and TD’s have given to date, and will be asking each to examine this issue and publically declare their support for a change in the law during the consultation period. Both as local groups and as members of the national Turn off the Red Light Campaign, we will be putting forward detailed submissions to the Government on this important issue.”