New Research shows Irish laws detrimental to Safety and Rights of Sex Workers

SWAI today, May 26th, welcomes the release of Amnesty International’s Global Policy on Sex Work and groundbreaking research into the impact of criminal laws on sex workers’ rights.

Amnesty International’s Global Policy asserts that the decriminalisation of prostitution is the only way to ensure the rights and safety of the most marginalised people in sex work. The four country reports from Norway, Argentina, Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong provide extensive evidence of rights abuses suffered by sex workers under fully or partially criminalised environments. Currently, Ireland’s laws create a partially criminalised environment.

SWAI co-ordinator Kate McGrew stated, ‘This extensive new research clearly shows it is only with full decriminalisation that the rights of sex workers can be protected. In Ireland we see everyday the impact for sex workers working under a partially criminalised system. Workers are too afraid to report abuse and violent perpetrators commit crimes with impunity. People are forced to work in isolation because of criminal laws prohibiting more than one person working from the same apartment. Workers suffer everyday from stigma and face discrimination and rejection from their families and society. It’s time our Government start to listen to sex workers. Further criminalisation will not help us. Arresting and prosecuting people who pay for sex does not protect the most marginalised workers from harm or give more access to their rights, it does the exact opposite”.

SWAI Board Member Catriona O’Brien said, “We have been telling the Irish Government for years that we do not want more criminal laws. We want them to decriminalise our work. The last Government provided no evidence for its proposed laws to criminalise the purchase of sexual services. We urge the new Government not to make the same mistake. It is their duty to ensure robust and rigorous evidence based policy making. Listen to sex workers and commission a meaningful study into our experiences with the law in Ireland. We are the ones any new legislation will impact”.


Notes for Editor
Amnesty International Global Policy:

Amnesty International Country Report into ‘Nordic Model’ in Norway:

SWAI Co-ordinator Kate McGrew available for interview
Kate McGrew Phone: 086 7778700 Email: [email protected]
Dearbhla Ryan Phone: 087 7677148 Email: [email protected]