Belfast Telegraph

Laws targeting sex buyers urged

Pimps are pocketing millions of euro from trafficking and prostitution while politicians consider changing the law, it was claimed.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) said legislation targeting the buyers of sex has to be introduced in the new Dail term to finally shut down the sex industry.

Denise Charlton, chief executive, said a 15-month review by the Department of Justice prompted countless media debates, more than 800 written submissions, six months of hearings and unanimous recommendations by the Oireachtas Justice Committee.

"However, the reality is pimps and sex-traffickers are as free to go about their criminal activity today as they were a year and a half ago," she said.

"We would like all political parties to use the return of the Oireachtas to act and send a strong message to organised crime gangs that their time is running out.

"The debate cannot continue forever."

Nusha Yonkova, ICI anti-trafficking co-ordinator, said the publication of the Justice Committee recommendations more than two months ago was a milestone for the campaign, but had no impact on organised crime.

"It is vital our lawmakers move to the next stage," she said.

"Some 15 months since the Government initially announced the review of the laws on prostitution 800 women are still for sale online in Ireland every day while 19 children were discovered in Irish 'commercial sex' during 2012.

"The case for action is compelling and in the weeks ahead we will fully engage with all political parties to encourage them to act."

The council is one of the founding members of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign, a group of 68 organisations which wants those who buy sex criminalised instead of those who sell it.

"We are doctors, nurses, trade unions, employers, farming representatives, survivors, human rights activities, communication workers and many more," added Ms Charlton.

"In the coming weeks we will again be mobilising our campaign."

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