Thursday 18 October 2018

'Are we really going to put a woman's dignity and personal safety below a dog?' - anti-prostitution campaigner Rachel Moran

Rachel Moran on The Late Late Show
Rachel Moran on The Late Late Show
Rachel Moran on The Late Late Show

Conor McCrave

It is "disgraceful" that fines for dog fouling are up to eight times bigger in Ireland than fines for paying for sex, according to former prostituted woman Rachel Moran.

Ms Moran is a vocal women's rights activist, previously documenting her experience working as a prostitute in Dublin from the age of 15 in her best-selling book Paid For, spoke out against the penalty for those who pay for sex in Ireland.

She joined the Turn Off The Red Light campaign in 2011 , which advocated to introduce new legislation to address prostitution and human trafficking, which was enacted in February of last year.

"Because the country is divided politically, there were two separate processes on either side of the border that I involved myself in and I'm really glad to say that on both sides of the border it's illegal to pay for sexual access to someone else's body. It criminalises anyone who buys sexual access to another person and it's a gender neutral law," she said on Friday night's Late Late Show.

"I don't feel it's working yet but to be fair, it's only been 12 months. France introduced the same law in 2016. They had 1,000 arrests in their first year, we’ve only had two. So we’ve fallen way short of where we should have been.

"The time to implement fully has certainly come. I'd like to see more education around this issue. A lot of people simply don't know it's illegal to buy somebody."

She compared the fine for first time offenders who paid for sex of €500 in comparison to the fine for dog owners whose animals have been caught fouling, range up to €4,000.

"I’m not pleased with the penalty and I said that during the campaign. We couldn't win on everything. The truth of the matter is if you were to let your dog take a dump in the street and you refused to pay the fine, you could be fined up to €4,000 in the courts. Are we really going to put a woman's dignity and personal safety below a dog taking a dump in the street?

She described the fining system "disgracefully low".

Ms Moran has been campaigning for greater legal protection for those who have been trafficked into prostitution and she spoke about a 19-year-old young girl who was kidnapped in London and trafficked through Galway where she was then prostituted “north and south all across this island".

"She was battered and brutalised to such an extent that she actually developed epilepsy. This was in the months before, she was refusing to do what they were insisting she do," she explained.

"People look at prostitution and they don’t stop to see how ugly it gets. There is a lot of trafficking involved but where the situation gets very confused is that there are a lot of women that wouldn't meet the legal definition of the word trafficking although they've been coerced very severely."

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