New Anti-Prostitution Law in Ireland Is Not Really About Trafficking
By Daily Bell Staff - February 24, 2017

Ireland passes law making it a crime to buy sex … The country follows Canada, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Northern Ireland in introducing legislation designed to punish men who use prostitutes without criminalising those driven into prostitution.

Now sex is being recriminalized. If people want to work as prostitutes, they should be allowed to do so. Under laws now passed in several countries people won’t have the opportunity to work as they choose.

Not every prostitute remains involved in the sex trade for her entire life. Some go on to marriage, or have longer term relationships that provide an income while they do other things.

The article says that the law protects women from being forced into prostitution via sex trafficking. But many women are not “trafficked’ and are involved in prostitution because they can make a good living for a period of time.


Under the new law which came into force on Wednesday, anyone convicted of using a prostitute in Ireland faces a maximum fine of 500 euros ($525) for a first offence and 1,000 euros for a second. Anyone who uses a trafficked woman faces up to five years in jail.

“This law will, for the first time in our history, firmly place legal responsibility on the exploiters rather than the exploited,” said campaigner Rachel Moran, who worked in prostitution for seven years from the age of 15, and has led calls for reform.

“It will have the effect of educating future generations … as to the simple wrongfulness of buying your way inside someone else’s body, and it will finally frame prostitution as the act of violence that it is.”

But not everyone sees prostitution as a miserable, dead end. Laura Lee, is a sex worker and also a law school graduate, She maintained that talk of sex trafficking in Ireland  was a kind of ruse.

“This has nothing to do with trafficking – that’s a smokescreen,” Lee is quoted as saying. “It’s hooded abolition and an attempt to put a complete stop to prostitution. We should be looking out for the most vulnerable women in society – not trying to make their lives ten times harder.”

Lee is going to court against the law and obviously thinks there are other issues at play. Culturally, Ireland has has a long history intertwined with Catholicism. It is certainly possible that has played a role in Ireland’s official perspective regarding sex.

Child pornography and general pornography laws were strengthened as well. There are some who estimated hundreds of women in the country have been trafficked. Many of these women supposedly came from countries like Nigeria, Brazil, Colombia, Romania and Bulgaria.

These women are told they will be coming to Ireland to learn English and to get a job. Instead they are “trafficked” – placed in prison-like conditions and then raped and put to work as sex slaves.

The argument is that the law will make Ireland less attractive to traffickers, but trafficking may not have been a large problem in Ireland to begin with,

As a libertarian publication, we believe woman have a right to do what they wish with their bodies and their time. That does not mean we endorse sex trafficking of any other coercive sexual practice. We don’t.

Conclusion: But if a woman wants to avail herself of prostitution, especially on the way to another career or professions, she certainly ought not to be stopped. These laws are likely moral in nature, only masquerading as something else.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

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  • David

    ”Instead they are “trafficked” – placed in prison-like conditions and then raped and put to work as sex slaves.”

    Is there any concrete evidence of this scenario occurring in Ireland?

    • It’s supposedly a reason the law was passed.

      • David Arnold

        The original Swedish law was introduced in 1999 on a purely feminist pretext. Trafficking wasn’t mentioned.

        When a small delegation of sex workers met with Frances Fitzgerald to discuss the proposed legislation, she gave several reasons for her determination to introduce this law. Trafficking wasn’t one of them.

        There have been a procession of “brothel raid” news stories recently. None found evidence of coercive trafficking.

        Amnesty International spent several years researching the subject worldwide and recently recommended decriminalisation of sellers and buyers, as do UNAIDS, the WHO and many others.

        This isn’t about trafficking and certainly won’t help sex workers, regardless of their situation, who will find their work further marginalised, criminalised and stigmatised. Laws criminalising them for working together (even when just two in the same building) are being kept in place with increased penalties. Their earnings will continue to be confiscated by the state. None of this is about trafficking.

        It’s about moral disapproval, funding for NGOs and in Fitzgerald’s words “sending a message that it’s not acceptable to buy women.”

        • Sending the message that when it comes to sex, the market does not apply.

      • David

        The main reason the law was passed was (to quote Frances Fitzgerald) ”to prevent the normalisation of buying sex.”

        The number of coercive trafficking cases in Ireland is extremely small and there are already robust anti-trafficking laws. As has been shown in Sweden and the US, to name just two, criminalisation doesn’t prevent trafficking. It merely moves sex work further out of sight and further into the hands of criminals. See also the failed war on drugs.

      • David

        @The Daily Bell Sorry to have bothered you with facts.

    • autonomous

      Is Ireland populated by human beings? Then, every manner of exploitation is to be found there. That is not evidence, but it is true.

      • David Arnold

        You’re right it’s not evidence. Im sure you’ll agree that laws should never be passed on assumprions or moral hysteria.

        • autonomous

          I will only agree that laws should never be passed.

  • jackw97224

    One can know that prostitution it wrong, but that does not justify his use of violence/force/aggression against the participants as that discredits him.

  • autonomous

    Beware the law of unintended consequences. Will the police be next arresting every woman wearing an expensive diamond ring, or eating in an expensive restaurant? Marriage and entertainment are not necessarily equivalent to prostitution, but in the case of some women–and men–the motivation, unquestionably, is the equivalent. Except in the case of rape and/or trafficking, the interest of justice is to but out.

  • robertsgt40

    If prostitution is bad, what does that say about politicians?

    • LawrenceNeal

      And Presstitutes…

    • eyesofgod

      I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “Politicians are like baby diapers: they’re full of shit and need to be changed often.” Whoever it was, I get the sentiment, and the humor, but I’m finding myself moving toward anarchism in the sense that what logic gives these characters (politicians) the power to decide right or wrong for the rest of us? There are far too many laws, anyway. And far too little trust. Seems to me what is really needed is basic education on the fundamental principles of love, kindness, sharing, cooperation, true world peace, and mutual tolerance.

  • Bruce C.

    Perhaps a better “law” would be one that rewards men for identifying “trafficked” women. It could be a win-win-win-win-win situation: Guy gets sex, woman gets money, her “masters” get arrested, woman gets back her freedom, and guy gets rewarded.

    • Don Duncan

      “Law” is state aggression. As a voluntarist I don’t endorse one state or one form of aggression because it’s “better” than others. I denounce all aggression on principle. That’s saves a lot of time debating which forms of slavery are better and keeps me on track with the solution: abolition of all aggression, e.g., all aggressive governments, which happen to be all of them.

  • georgesilver

    No more Irish holidays for the Daily Bell staff then?

  • Don Duncan

    What if the law was about trafficking, about aggression? Would that justify bringing in another aggressive group, more aggression? I think not. It disgusts me to see about 98% of the world self-enslaving, agreeing to be ruled, wanting to be ruled. But I would not suggest they be forced to be free. It’s their life, their bodies, their property they sacrifice.
    What I get angry about is their assumption that they can force their lifestyle on all. Just because they think it’s best to be ruled (which I know most would deny), does not give them the right to force me into being subject to authority. They call it “protection” or “security” but when that is debunked, the threat of violence remains. When the myth is exposed as false, the superstitious “faith in force” remains. And that “faith” is what is killing humanity. It seems impervious to reason. The argument for reason and rights is met with “But what about….?” which shows a refusal to evaluate by principle. The principle of non-aggression is an abstract concept, and as such is applicable to all social interactions, without exception. But I cannot force anyone to analyze by principle. They have to do so willingly. They have to be intellectually honest, consistent and logical, by choice. If they choose to use logic out of context, to justify their faith, their superstition, I am not responsible. That is on them. I can only shine the light on the facts, I cannot make them understand.

  • Steven Hotho

    Catholicism has been dead in Ireland for a generation now. Killed off by European secularism and another sex scandal.