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Press release from 29th April
Gardaí questions 36 men but many more sex workers have been arrested says Sex Workers Alliance Ireland
Gardaí should protect the most vulnerable. Instead our laws put marginalised people in danger and waste precious Garda resources.
36 men have been questioned over purchase of sex in the past few days and, while this is a huge number this is still far less than the 55 workers who have been prosecuted for working together in safety*, so called brothel-keeping #DecrimForSafety
* From statistics we got from the Central Statistics office we know 55 people have been arrested for brothel keeping since the law was introduced in 2017 #SupportSafeSexWork
Of these 36 men we don’t know how many, if any, will be prosecuted. All the while there has been a 92% increase in violent crime against sex workers since the 2017 laws came in. This is where Garda resources should be directed uglymugs.ie/wp-content/upl…
While we don’t know the details of the cases, the press release from the Gardaí reads like there was mass surveillance on workers. The outcome of this will mean that clients will not use their real names or phone numbers to evade detection #SupportSafeSexWork #DecrimForSafety
This puts workers at a very real risk as they will be less able to screen predators. They may also insist that workers come to them, taking the worker out of their security zone and into somewhere unknown #DecrimForSafety #SupportSafeSexWork
Sex workers are now forced to work in isolation, which puts them at further risk of violence and exploitation. Ultimately sex work will be driven further underground, which does nothing to help the minority of trafficked people working in sex work in Ireland #SupportSafeSexWork
There is nothing in the Garda statement about the workers. We don’t know if they are safe, or whether they were coerced or consenting adults. Sex work is a particular type of work that people do when they have few other options #SupportSafeSexWork #DecrimForSafety
The law does not help them. Workers will be forced to take risks to make ends meet. Questioning and arresting clients is, in fact, not support for sex workers and is a terrible use of stretched Garda resources #SupportSafeSexWork #DecrimForSafety
Mass surveillance of sex workers leads to distrust in the Gardaí, making workers less likely to report when they have been assaulted #SupportSafeSexWork #DecrimForSafety
The bottom line is these actions reported today are not support. The actions by the Gardaí over the past few days and the resources spent on them do nothing to help sex workers, should they want to leave sex work #SupportSafeSexWork #DecrimForSafety
In the past we have worked with the Gardaí and workers who were violently attacked to bring those perpetrators to justice #SupportSafeSexWork #DecrimForSafety
During the period of escalated violence that has followed the 2017 change in law, SWAI has been increasingly involved on the ground with helping workers on the ground in emergency situations #SupportSafeSexWork #DecrimForSafety
In our interactions with the Gardaí, even when they are dealing with workers who have been attacked, it is clear that they are overstretched. We fear that actions such as those reported today will mean a loss of trust in the Gardaí #DecrimForSafety #SupportSafeSexWork
We would like to see Garda efforts focus on actually helping sex workers when they are the victims of a crime, instead of meddling with their means of survival #DecrimForSafety #SupportSafeSexWork
We, the only sex worker led front-line organisation in Ireland, want to see sex work decriminalised. Studies have shown that where any aspect of sex work is criminalised it means increased violence and adverse health conditions for the worker journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/a…
The 2017 law does nothing to address the precarity and lack of security that can lead to human trafficking #DecrimForSafety #SupportSafeSexWork
One of the big reasons we need full decriminalisation in Ireland is to improve relations with Gardai, so that those on the ground - sex workers and clients alike - can easily report exploitation, abuse, and trafficking without repercussion #DecrimForSafety #SupportSafeSexWork
We ask that misinformed politicians listen to us, the very people who are materially affected by these laws. Who are these laws helping? #SupportSafeSexWork #DecrimForSafety
Sex workers want to be safe, like everyone else #SupportSafeSexWork #DecrimForSafety
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