In less than 2 weeks we take to the polls again to vote for politicians to represent us on a local and European level. Sex workers are rarely heard by politicians so WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please ask your candidates about what they will do to help sex workers. Many politicians will not have considered sex work outside of Ending Demand so we need to change that.

Ask your candidate about sex work laws
  1. What do you think about the new sex work legislation here in Ireland?
  2. Do you support the health and safety of all women and trans people?
  3. Do you believe in evidence-based policy?
  4. Did you know that since the laws changed in 2017 there has been a 92% increase in violent crime against sex workers? Do you know there has also been a near 20% decrease in willingness to report to Gardai?
  5. Do you support the rights of sex workers, beyond them exiting sex work? What do you think sex workers would need to leave sex work or to not engage in the first place?
  6. How are you going to support migrant sex workers to work safely, when they are often conflated with trafficking victims and therefore perceived as needing rescue?
  7. Do you think the policing of consenting adults is a good use of Garda resources? Do you want everyone to be served by the Gardaí, including the most marginalised? Did you realise that many more sex workers due to brothel-keeping laws have been arrested than their clients?
  8. Did you support the campaign to repeal the 8th? Do you think bodily autonomy extends beyond abortion? We have passed progressive legislation about same-sex marriage, gender recognition and abortion in the last by listening to the people directly affected. Are you willing to do the same for sex workers?
  9. What will you do to support sex workers rights? Will you support their call for full decriminalisation of sex work?
  10. Have you heard of the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland, the only sex-worker centred front-line service here? How are you going to make sure that at the legislative review of the Sexual Offences Bill in 2020, the Oireachtas Committee prioritizes the voices of current sex workers as they are the ones with the first-hand knowledge of this new law’s impact?
Politicians will try and avoid answers to hard questions so you can use this opportunity to inform them that:
  • 55 workers have been arrested and only one client has been prosecuted under our law. This shows the law isn’t fit for purpose.
  • Where any aspect of sex work is criminalised, including client criminalisation it has adverse health outcomes for the workers.
  • Our laws criminalise two or more sex workers working together from the same place, despite the fact would be safer for them to work together.
  • Client criminalisation makes it much more difficult to find trafficking victims.
  • If we truly want to reduce or eliminate sex trafficking we must understand how immigration policies lead to trafficking.
  • People enter sex work for a variety of reason, often because they have no choice. Austerity, visa status, precarious work and housing, lack of childcare, drug-use, debt and lack of decent employment are all factors.
  • 65% of all murdered trans and gender diverse people were sex workers.
  • We are an Ireland moving away from its dark past. Stigma and shame weigh heavily on sex workers.

We’ve made a handy printable pdf for you to stick up on the back of your door so you have it ready to question your candidate. 

Candidate checklist