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Trendy mantras about 'standing with sex workers' miss grim reality of prostitution

Rachel Moran


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Red light: A prostitute poses at the bar of Berlin’s Artemis brothel. Photo: Getty Images

Red light: A prostitute poses at the bar of Berlin’s Artemis brothel. Photo: Getty Images

Red light: A prostitute poses at the bar of Berlin’s Artemis brothel. Photo: Getty Images

It's right that we should have an open, honest conversation about the sex trade in Ireland, but as the review process draws to a close on Section 4 of the Sexual Offences Act, it's important to remember the bottom line - the Government would be wrong to overturn legislation outlawing the purchase of ­sexual access to human beings.

I have spent nearly a decade campaigning for sexual exploiters to be properly outlawed, in Ireland and abroad. I have been involved in the Turn Off The Red-Light campaign since its initial launch in February 2011. It was a very long and arduous emotional road from there to get the Sexual Offences Act implemented in 2017.

But the journey did not end there. Embedded into the body of the legislation was the pledge to review the law three years after its passing, which brings us up to the present day. This review process has brought out a lot of predictable public conversation, but what was not predictable to me was the level of misinformation centring on what happened during the campaign for the law.