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Monday 22 January 2018

Wallace's sex trade comment 'misguided'

Aine Kerr Political Correspondent

INDEPENDENT TD Mick Wallace last night promised to research how other countries deal with prostitution after being criticised by a prominent victims' support group.

The newly elected TD said he still believed legalising prostitution was the "better option" but confirmed he would look into other possible solutions put forward by Ruhama, which gives support to victims of trafficking and prostitution.

The group advocates following a Swedish model in which those who pay for sex are penalised rather than those who sell it.

It said yesterday the TD's calls for legalisation were "misguided". Mr Wallace had said he believed the welfare of women working in the sex trade would be improved if the trade was not forced underground.

Mr Wallace and a representative of Ruhama held a brief discussion yesterday and afterwards he said he would explore the various legislative models in further depth.

However, the backbench TD said he was sceptical about the Swedish model, which has simply "exported" the problem to other areas.

"It's time we stopped sweeping this issue under the carpet," he said.

The Wexford TD had earlier advocated legalising prostitution on the basis that it would improve the welfare of women working in the sex trade.

"I think the girls would be exploited less through a legal system than through an illegal system," he said.

But a spokeswoman for Ruhama said his comments were "misguided".

Irish Independent

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