Kate McGrew, current sex worker and director of the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) welcomes the news that arrests have been made following raids on suspected attackers. She said “We know that when sex workers and the Gardaí can work together we can make Ireland a safer place for everyone.
However, these arrests do little to assuage the fear and paranoia sex workers feel because of the law. These attacks are the direct consequence of a law that does not prioritise sex worker’s safety and instead focused on a vain attempt to end demand for sex work.”
She continued “Everyone wants sex workers to be safe but we need to be realistic about what the laws introduced in 2017 have actually accomplished. We have seen a 92% increase in violent crime against sex workers and a marked decrease in the probability of sex workers reporting a crime against them to the Gardaí. One client has been taken to court and many more workers have been prosecuted.
Forcing sex workers to work alone under the so-called brothel-keeping laws makes them a target for criminals such as these attackers. Driving sex workers to the margins by criminalising the purchase of sex or forcing them to break the law to work together in safety is detrimental to the safety of sex workers.
Gardaí resources are wasted on attempting to police consensual sex work. An Garda Siochana are already stretched thin. We want sex work decriminalised so sex workers are no longer afraid to engage with the police.”