Irish Times Letters: Law on Sex Work needs reform

Published Monday 30th May 2016.


Sir, – New research published by Amnesty International exposes the dangers in criminalising sex work, as evidenced from Argentina, Hong Kong, Norway, and Papua New Guinea.

It adds to a large body of independent evidence calling for a harm-reduction approach and the decriminalisation of sex work in order to protect the basic human rights of sex workers, such as the right to physical safety, bodily integrity and health. This critical evidence firmly exposes the Swedish model, which criminalises the purchasers of sexual services, as not fulfilling its intended purpose of reducing prostitution. All evidence shows that sex workers are far more vulnerable to abuse, violence and increased risk of HIV/Aids under the Swedish model.

The UNAIDS Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Work advises states to move away from criminalising sex work. The World Health Organisation, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health,Human Rights Watch, the Global Alliance Against the Traffic of Women, Amnesty International and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects reiterate this call.

Failure to listen and consider this mounting independent evidence will undoubtedly put the human rights of sex workers in Ireland at risk. We urge the Government to ensure this expert evidence informs laws and policy on sex work in Ireland today. – Yours, etc,

KATE McGREW, Sex Workers Alliance Ireland;

BRODEN GIAMBRONE, Transgender Equality Network Ireland;


ANNIE HOEY, Union Students of Ireland;

EDEL McGINLEY, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland;

DAWN RUSSELL, Ana Liffey Drugs Project;

PASSEROSE MANTOY-MEADE, Chrysalis Community Drugs Project;

ANN MASON, Goshh (Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health, HIV);

Dr GRAHAM ELLISON, Commercial Sex Research Network Ireland;

LINDA KAVANAGH, Abortion Rights Campaign;

DEARBHLA RYAN, Community and Campaign Worker.