from The Daily Bell:
Ireland passes law making it a crime to buy sex … The country follows Canada, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Northern Ireland in introducing legislation designed to punish men who use prostitutes without criminalising those driven into prostitution.
Now sex is being recriminalized. If people want to work as prostitutes, they should be allowed to do so. Under laws now passed in several countries people won’t have the opportunity to work as they choose.
Not every prostitute remains involved in the sex trade for her entire life. Some go on to marriage, or have longer term relationships that provide an income while they do other things.
The article says that the law protects women from being forced into prostition via sex trafficking. But many women are not “trafficked’ and are involoved in prosititution because they can make a good living for a period of time.
Under the new law which came into force on Wednesday, anyone convicted of using a prostitute in Ireland faces a maximum fine of 500 euros ($525) for a first offence and 1,000 euros for a second. Anyone who uses a trafficked woman faces up to five years in jail.
“This law will, for the first time in our history, firmly place legal responsibility on the exploiters rather than the exploited,” said campaigner Rachel Moran, who worked in prostitution for seven years from the age of 15, and has led calls for reform.
“It will have the effect of educating future generations … as to the simple wrongfulness of buying your way inside someone else’s body, and it will finally frame prostitution as the act of violence that it is.”
But not everyone sees prostitution as a miserable, dead end. Laura Lee, is a sex worker and also a law school graduate, She maintained that talk of sex trafficking in Ireland was a kind of ruse.
“This has nothing to do with trafficking – that’s a smokescreen,” Lee is quoted as saying. “It’s hooded abolition and an attempt to put a complete stop to prostitution. We should be looking out for the most vulnerable women in society – not trying to make their lives ten times harder.”
Lee is going to court against the law and obviously thinks there are other issues at play. Culturally, Ireland has has a long history intertwined with Catholicism. It is certainly possible that has played a role in Ireland’s official perspective regarding sex.
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