I had a telephone chat at lunch-time today with Rebecca Beegan, co-ordinator for Waterford based Men’s Development Network.
Ms. Beegan told me she had a news item for me and hoped I could publish it here. I explained that The Maine Valley Post is a strictly local news site and that there are plenty of other outlets for news from beyond this valley.
“What if I told you that there are 17 women for sale right now in Kerry – is that local enough for you? she asked. Time to surrender the ear and pay attention.
Number Varies with Demand
Ms. Beegan went on to explain: “There are 17 women for sale online today in Kerry. This number varies day to day as women are moved around the country to facilitate demand.
Festivals and big events bring on huge demands and the women are moved around accordingl,” she said.
Members of the network are awaiting the publication in October of new the 2015 Sexual Offences Bill. This is widely expected to include laws to combat the exploitation of women and girls in prostitution and human trafficking.
This legislation will target the demand for prostitution and criminalize the purchase of sexual services and the seller will not face criminal sanctions. The Men’s Development Network are the national promoters of White Ribbon Ireland. This is a campaign to end men’s violence against women.
The bill is seen as an opportunity to ‘wreck the business model’ for pimps and traffickers operating in Kerry and throughout Ireland. All local TDs and Senators are being called upon to support the proposals.
The Bill will include laws to target the buyers of sex whose actions are fuelling these crimes. Such laws have already been successfully implemented in other countries and came into force in Northern Ireland on June 1st this year.
Iunwelcoming the legislation, Alan O’Neill, CEO and Rebecca Beegan said that they have been greatly encouraged by the level of local support and are now calling on politicians from all sides to unite and send out the message loud and clear that Ireland is no longer a soft target for pimps, traffickers and those who inflict great harm onto women.
“The bill is the culmination of an exhaustive review process during which all the complex issues involved were fully examined – more than 800 written submissions were studied and months of hearings were held in the Dáil. This is a significant milestone in efforts in the Turn Off The Red Light Campaign to change the focus of the law from the seller of sex to the buyers,” they said in a joint statement.
“The campaign has united 73 Irish organisations with a combined membership of 1.6 million people. We have been joined by doctors, nurses, frontline emergency workers, trade unionists, employers, human rights campaigners, women’s and children’s rights groups and the most important voices of all – the survivors of prostitution.
Offence to Loiter
“The 1993 Sexual Offences act makes it an offence to loiter and has the (intended) effect of forcing women inside, further exasperating the hidden nature of the industry, and further criminalizing women as a result of their circumstances. The argument therefore that criminalisation of men will force prostitutes indoors is a poor excuse: prostitution is already indoors, a highly lucrative business for criminals, and dangerous for women.
“It is estimated that €250 million is taken from Ireland every year by pimps and traffickers and we cannot allow those who profit from women’s misery to continue doing so. We must target the demand, and this means criminalising the purchaser, pimps and those who organise and buy another human being. One in 15 men in Ireland buy sex at any one time. This is a significant number equivalent to a full attendance at Croke Park,” they concluded. You can find out more with a click here