Trafficking Bill: Stormont vote has done sex workers a real disservice

Oct 25, 2014
Legal
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So they did it. In defiance of decisive international evidence, in defiance of expert academic opinion and research, in defiance of the clearly expressed will of the very people on whose behalf they were supposedly acting – sex workers themselves – Stormont voted to make paying for sex a crime.

Women’s Aid says it is a victory for women. It doesn’t feel like that to sex workers. Their opinions were not sought by this frightening feminist/fundamentalist coalition, which claims to act in their best interests.

According to research commissioned by David Ford’s Department of Justice (DoJ) and carried out by Queen’s University, Belfast, no Northern Ireland-based sex workers surveyed supported criminalising the purchase of sex; indeed, 61% of sex workers practising here thought it would make them less safe. And 85% believed it would not reduce sex trafficking.

They’re right. Banning the purchase of sex doesn’t work. It doesn’t wipe out prostitution and it harms the women – and men, let’s not forget about them – who are involved in it.

Informed and humane people – the World Health Organisation, Human Rights Watch, the respected UK medical journal The Lancet – know this.

Trafficking Bill: Stormont vote has done sex workers a real disservice

The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women says that such laws “not only fail to reduce trafficking and sex work, but [have] also resulted in further harms and human rights violations against sex workers”

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