I would like to express my concern and objection against the proposed bill to further criminalize the escorting industry. As far as I understand it, the bill is set to criminalize clients seeking sexual services offered by escorts. The proponents of this bill claim that this will stop the unlawful trafficking of women (and children) for forced sexual abuse.
Lets be very clear that human trafficking is unacceptable in any society and should not be toletated. However, I fear that the enactment of this bill will only serve to perpetuate human trafficking for the sex industry.
If one observes any of the main escorting websites available in Ireland, one will note a very high percentage of 'independant' or 'touring' escorts in comparison to similar websites in other countries such as the U.K. Independants are ladies that work for themselves. Touring escorts are those that work for a short time (e.g. a couple if weeks) before leaving the country and maybe returning at some stage in the future for a further stint. A woman works for herself of her own free choice. No pimps or brothel owners are involved. And clearly touring escorts are able to come and go becaue they have the freedom to do so and and not under the enslavement of some human trafficking organisation.
The proponents of this bill claim that it is not possible for any woman to voluntarily choose to work as an escort. In other words she must have been coerced into the profession. This is patronizing to the majority of escorts working in Ireland who do so by their own free will. Again the proponents of this new bill claim the opposite - i.e. that the majority of escorts working in Irleand are trafficked. This is simply unture and has never been backed up by fact.
The " Turn off the red light" campaign works on the principle of cutting off demand as a means to stopping trafficking. Again they are somewaht deluded in this regard. The demand for escorts will always exist in any country. If this bill is enacted, escorting will be driven further underground and will come under the exclusive control of organised crime. The majority of the escorts that work of their own free will, are likely to leave the country. The demand will therefore be catered for by an increased amount of trafficked women by criminal gangs. This will therefore produce the exact opposite effect to what the bill is intended to do. In countries where escorting is legal - it allows for better protection and education of escorts. It has also allowed for greater empowerment on the part of the escorts.
It is my sad conclusion therefore that those behind the "Turn off the Red light campaign" are really anti-prostitution for their own moral grounds rather than truly trying to tackle the element of human trafficking. As mentioned above if this bill is passed it wiill drive the sex industry further underground and increase human trafficking. The proponents of the bill will be quite happy because the industry will just be swept under the carpet.
"Don't be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours"