Saturday 23 February 2019

Man (65) becomes first person convicted of paying for sex under new legislation following raid on Dublin brothel

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

A 65-year-old man has become the first person convicted of paying for sex under new legislation following a raid on a west Dublin brothel.

Bryan Mason appeared before a sitting of Dublin District Court this morning where he was fined €200 after being convicted of paying for a prostitute.

The accused, of Moatlands in Ratoath, Co Meath, has become the first person convicted under new legislation which criminalises the purchasing of sex.

He was arrested following a raid on a brothel in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 on March 30, 2018 by gardai.

Bryan Mason was charged under Section 25 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 and fined at Dublin District Court today.

The conviction was welcomed by Irish charity Ruhama who support women affected by prostitution.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Ruhama, said the case sends a clear message and that criminal gangs are profiting from the sex trade.

“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.

“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’s demand, the criminal gangs running it are profiting,” Ms Benson said.

“We know that buyers don’t care about the welfare of the person they are seeking so-called ‘sexual services’ from, even when they are victims of trafficking

“Paying for sex is not an expression of sexuality: it is primarily the assertion of male dominance over women. Women we work with have reported countless incidences of physical and sexual violence experienced at the hands of sex-buyers. We are hopeful that this conviction will result in increased public awareness about the law, as well as the role that demand plays in fuelling the harm inherent to the sex trade.”

The Act was introduced in April 2017 and criminalises sex-buyers, while decriminalising individuals who sell sex. A primary objective is to tackle the demand that leads to sexual exploitation of, predominantly women and girls. It is estimated that there are up to 1,000 people in prostitution in Ireland at any time, mostly behind closed doors.

Ms Benson added: “An essential component of the law introduced in 2017 was the decriminalisation of individuals selling sex, in recognition that those in prostitution are often vulnerable and marginalised. They are also at high risk of suffering as victims of crimes including trafficking, sexual assaults and robbery. They should never be considered criminals but rather offered support and assistance, including from the Gardaí should they require it.”

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