Tuesday 23 January 2018

Nurses back calls to give immunity to sex workers

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

NURSES have backed calls for the Government to close a legal loophole which a number of organisations say has allowed a seedy sex industry to flourish.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said women forced to work in brothels all over the country are trapped in a life where threats, violence and abuse are widespread.

The INMO is one of 48 trade unions and organisations which want legislation to grant sex workers immunity while those who buy sex are prosecuted.

While it is illegal to solicit for sex on the street or in public, it is currently not a criminal offence to buy or sell sex in the Irish Republic.

Liam Doran, general secretary, demanded government action against an industry which has used the legal loophole to give it a cloak of respectability.

"At our AGM last year our members were fully briefed on the campaign and backed the involvement of the INMO in efforts to protect women from the dangers of being trafficked for the sole purpose of working in Ireland's sex industry," said Mr Doran.

"The only way to provide that protection is to cut off the demand with threat of prosecution for those who pay for sex.

"While the Government has made a number of commitments in this area, we have yet to see any action.

"We are asking the Minister for Justice to immediately announce a short public consultation on this issue and move swiftly to amend the law."

The INMO is part of the Turn off the Red Light campaign which maintains it has the backing from 80 TDs and senators for their demands to criminalise prostitution in Ireland.

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