In late 2019 the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland undertook peer research into the lives and experiences of sex workers under the Criminal Law Sexual Offenses Act in anticipation of the 3 year review. We sought to ensure that active sex workers were heard about the reality of our lives.

This research utilised both qualitative and quantitative methods, to provide a broad picture of the situation in Ireland for sex workers currently.

Our findings:

  1. This law has not prevented people from engaging in sex work.
  2. It has negatively impacted safety measures making survival more perilous.
  3. Instead of making workers safer it has made sex work much more dangerous and decreased faith and trust in Gardaí amongst workers.
  4. Crime against sex workers has increased significantly under this law.
  5. This law has failed to reduce numbers of clients but instead it has worsened behaviour of clients toward sex workers.
  6. Sex workers have lost bargaining power and are therefore seeing clients they might have previously refused to see and engaging in acts they might not have previously considered.
  7. Existing supports for workers are severely lacking and tend to be focused on workers that are actively trying to exit sex work.

SWAI Research Report