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  • Northside West

Local brothel raid leads to first conviction

Thursday, 31st January, 2019 6:00pm
Local brothel raid leads to first conviction

The conviction under the new legislation met with a mixed response. PHOTO POSED BY MODEL

Local brothel raid leads to first conviction

The conviction under the new legislation met with a mixed response. PHOTO POSED BY MODEL

THE first person convicted for paying for sex in Ireland was arrested following a raid on a brothel in Blanchardstown last March, it emerged last week.

The man had been charged under Section 25 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and was fined €200 at Dublin District Court.

Ruhama, which supports women affected by prostitution and sex trafficking, has welcomed the conviction.

“This case sends a clear message to Irish society that it is not acceptable to pay for access to another person’s body for sexual gratification,” said Ruhama CEO, Sarah Benson.

“Sex buyers have been operating with impunity in Ireland for far too long, and we are hopeful that more convictions will be achieved under this legislation in future.

“Evidence has shown that tackling ‘demand’ is a key mechanism for preventing the sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable in our society. While the sex trade continues to thrive due to buyer demand, the criminal gangs running it are profiting.”

Legislation criminalising the purchase of sex came into effect in March 2017 following years of campaigning by civil society organisations.

The legislation aligns Irish law with the so-called Nordic or ‘Equality’ model of prostitution legislation that has been increasingly implemented globally.

The act criminalises sex-buyers, while decriminalizing individuals who sell sex. However, sex workers say the new laws make them more vulnerable.

“This case yet again highlights how the law is being used against workers who may want to work together for safety reasons,” said Kate McGrew, director of Sex Workers’ Alliance Ireland (SWAI).

“The convicted man was collateral damage in an ill-fated war to end demand. He was not the intended target of the raid, the workers were.”

McGrew claimed the new legislation means workers will be forced to work alone, which increases their vulnerability.

“The Nordic model is purportedly meant to target the client but by this law, if we want to work legally here, we are forced to work alone,” she continued. 

“Violent attacks specifically increased on us 77 percent in the first year of the law being introduced. This is not a coincidence.

“No one is asking about the sex workers who have been caught in this raid. We hope they are safe and getting the support they need and we would like to remind them and all other sex workers that we are here for peer-led, non judgemental support for all sex workers.”

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