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Thread: Northern Ireland Executive Article

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Belfast, lap of luxury
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    Default Northern Ireland Executive Article

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    Northern Ireland Executive

    The research, commissioned by the Department of Justice and carried out by Queen’s University, is the first time that people involved in selling and buying sexual services have been directly approached in relation to prostitution policy in Northern Ireland and their views sought on the legal framework.

    Welcoming the research report Justice Minister, David Ford said: “Next week the Assembly will consider Lord Morrow’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill. Lord Morrow and I share a determination to do all we can to address the misery of human trafficking and modern day slavery, and we have worked closely to agree on almost all of the Bill’s provisions. However, we differ over Clause 6 of the Bill, which, if adopted, will change the existing law from criminalising the purchase of sex from a prostitute subjected to force, to criminalising the purchase of sexual services in any circumstances.

    “My position is that I don’t believe that the complexities of prostitution can be adequately addressed in a single clause in a Bill. Instead, the law and policy surrounding the distinct issue of selling or purchasing sexual services should be considered separately, in detail, and with the benefit of properly informed research.”

    The Minister continued: “Earlier this year I commissioned Queen’s University to carry out research into prostitution in Northern Ireland and I have now received their final report. The research has established that the framework of prostitution in Northern Ireland is more complex and diverse than the picture generally painted. I have, however, seen no evidence to suggest that the change proposed by Lord Morrow would reduce the incidence of trafficking. Indeed the report contains evidence to suggest that criminalising the purchase of sex, as a single clause in this Bill, may create further risk and hardship for those individuals, particularly women, involved in prostitution.”

    Some of the key findings of the research which includes qualitative and quantitative data are as follows:

    • Only 2% of sex workers who responded to the survey supported criminalising the purchase of sex.
    • 61% of NI-based sex workers in the survey thought it would make them less safe.
    • 85% believed that it would not reduce sex trafficking.
    • Only 16% of respondents to the client survey said it would make them stop paying for sex altogether.
    • There is likely to be significant difficulties with enforcement.

    The Minister said: “My view is that the research report raises clear questions as to whether the objective that Lord Morrow and I share, that is to reduce the incidence of trafficking, will indeed be furthered by Clause 6. I also believe it provides sufficient evidence for anyone who has any concerns about the welfare of individuals involved in prostitution to oppose Clause 6 on the grounds that we need more time to understand this, virtually hidden, element of our society and more time to make decisions on the right course for future law and policy.”

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Belfast / Beal Feirste / Capital of Norn Iron


    Fair play to David Ford for taking a principled and common sense stance on this issue. The QUB research gave an indepth and (to those of us with practical experience) accurate analysis of the realities of sex work here.

    Predictably it was immediately dismissed by the DUP who realised it didn't fit their naive, stereotyped agenda.

    As David Ford said, sex work is a complex issue and in reality most outsiders know very little about it other than a few media cliches. Therefore the truth can be easily manipulated by self-serving politicians and NGOs and it is only with real research such as this that the actual facts can appear.

    Morrow's comparison of himself to William Wilberforce has to be the hubris of the century. The fact that he thinks criminalising clients will make the slightest difference to the (very few) local cases of human trafficking almost beggars belief, particularly given the rather awkward fact that human trafficking in Sweden is rapidly increasing. He could at least be honest and admit that his bill is based on distaste for paid sex rather than trying to be some kind of ridiculous martyr.
    2014 in Northern Ireland:

    Number of reported attacks on sex workers 70

    Number of sex trafficking cases ZERO

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