Home > Seanad Eireann debate. Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed).

[Oireachtas] Seanad Eireann debate. Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed). (03 Nov 2016)

URL: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...

Deputy Thomas Pringle: I welcome the publication of this Bill and its wide-ranging provisions that seek to strengthen our laws combating child pornography and the sexual grooming of children, to update our laws relating to incest and indecent exposure and to provide amendments which focus on the victims of sexual offences. The provision criminalising the purchase of sex included in Part 4 of this Bill is welcome.

According to the Immigrant Council of Ireland's statistics, between 800 and 1,000 women and children in Ireland are advertised online for sex on any given day. Of that number, between 87% and 98% of those are migrant women and many are from impoverished backgrounds. If sex work was a choice, surely that statistic would reflect the population of this country, but it definitely does not. Having informed myself of all views on the introduction of the criminalisation of the purchase of sex, I cannot help but think that if prostitution was a choice, why are the majority of those in prostitution coming from very vulnerable circumstances and from marginalised and targeted social groups? Isolation, cultural differences, language difficulties, debt bondage and the ease with which they can be controlled all contribute to the vulnerability of victims of sex trafficking.

In 2013, I introduced a Bill that also sought to criminalise the purchase of sex. Not surprisingly, it was voted down at the time by the Government and it took another three years to have the Bill before us debated. The year that the Bill I introduced was voted down, 83 people were trafficked into Ireland for the purposes of sexual exploitation. We can only imagine how many have experienced the same fate in total over the past three years. Yet, not one single trafficker or pimp has been convicted under the 2008 Act since the time I introduced my Bill back in 2013. While one purpose of that Bill was an attempt, as is the so-called Nordic model, to try to reduce the trafficking of women for sex work, the other purpose of it at the time was to effect a cultural change.

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Item Type:Dail Debates
Date:3 November 2016
Subjects:MM-MO Crime and law
MM-MO Crime and law > Organised crime
MM-MO Crime and law > Crime and violence > Crime against persons (assault / abuse / intimidation)
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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