During the month of August the Turn Off the Red Light (TORL) Campaign gathered momentum as the 31st of August deadline for submissions to the Oireachtas Committee drew closer. The Campaign is seeking a change in the law to end exploitation and sex trafficking by making it illegal to pay for sex.
In all, fifty-six organisations including the Religious Sisters of Charity, trade unions, human rights and victims organisations, representative bodies, prostitution survivors as well as frontline emergency workers all made submissions. These groups represent 1.6 million Irish people. A facebook page recorded a weekly reach of over 44,000 people, while a twitter campaign was also used to encourage lobbying of TDs, Senators and Councillors.
TORL is seeking a change in the law to end exploitation and sex trafficking by making it illegal to pay for sex.
On Friday 17th August, as part of TORL, the ‘Anna Was 14 Campaign’ was launched with billboards, highlighting the fact that girls are entering prostitution from as young as age 14. Department of Justice figures for 2011 confirm that authorities became aware of eight children trafficked into Ireland for sexual exploitation, with 15 detected in 2010.
The issue of sex trafficking was again highlighted on Friday 24th August when 56 balloons, representing the membership of TORL, were sent high into the air, outside Dail Eireann. TORL recommends that the Government act by amending the 1993 Sexual Offences act to criminalise the purchase of sex and ensure those who sell sex are not criminalised and re-victimised. It believes that following the Swedish model and introducing legislation to criminalise demand will act as a deterrent for people who buy sex. It also recommends that the change in legislation would be complimented by enhanced and sustained support services for people in prostitution who wish to exit.
For more information visit the website www.turnofftheredlight.ie