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Laws are 'sincere step' to tackling Irish sex trade


Rachel Moran

Rachel Moran

Rachel Moran

Sex-trade survivor and activist Rachel Moran has welcomed moves by the Irish government to enact legislation on the criminalisation of those who pay for sex in this country.

At the end of November the new Criminal Law Sexual Offences Bill, which will criminalise the purchase of sex was published. Under the terms of this bill those convicted of paying for sex with human trafficking victims could face up to five years in jail.

"Any country that has a sense of the value of human dignity and the equal worth of females will move to enact such legislation, and I am proud that Ireland has done that," Rachel told the Herald.

"I think with the enactment of this legislation, Ireland will be taking the most sincere step we've ever taken in tackling the sex-trade."

Rachel is against the idea of legalising the sex trade, an approach which some proponents say would help 'regulate' the area.

"People genuinely do not know the impact and the outcome of what they are calling for," she said. "What people do not understand about the decriminalisation model in New Zealand, which is often evoked as some sort of solution, is that it decriminalises pimping and punting.


"It decriminalises the sale and purchase of women and girls, which is why multi-story mega-brothels are currently under construction in New Zealand. Decriminalising pimping and punting has doubled the number of women and girls involved in street prostitution in New Zealand in just a few years.

"I do not believe for a moment that's what Irish people would want to see here."

Rachel, who chronicled her own experiences in her book 'Paid For - My Journey Through Prostitution,' set up SPACE an international organisation of sex trade survivors, three years ago.

"We know this issue because we've lived it, and we won't stop until we've created the change we need to see in the world," Rachel said.

"We need to get rid of the idea that women and girls were put on this earth to satiate men's sexual appetites. What men buy in prostitution is not sex; it is the silence of women who would otherwise tell them to keep their hands to themselves. Paying to buy the temporary suspension of someone's sexual autonomy should never be socially acceptable in a civilised society."

"Sadly there is no shortage in the supply of very young socially marginalised women and girls, both migrant and Irish, which is exactly why we need this legislation to protect them."