NOMAS, and Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) commend Ireland, for the historic passage of a new bill which de-criminalizes prostituted people, but penalizes the purchase of sex (the Nordic model). The bill was approved on Feb. 14.
The new Irish law will help efforts to end demand, by holding sex buyers accountable, and will also ensure that prostituted women and girls can get comprehensive support services. In addition it strengthens national laws against “sexual grooming,” child pornography, and sexual harassment.
Rachel Moran was a key Irish abolitionist activist who advocated for the law. “It’s been six years since I first spoke publicly about the harm and damage of prostitution, and the need for our government to do something about it,” said Moran, the author of “Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution.” “Ireland is now a hostile territory for pimps and traffickers, and a place where men can no longer legally use women’s desperation to buy their way inside our bodies. This is a historic day that sends a message of hope.”
Ireland follows the example of Sweden, the first country to legally recognize prostitution as a form of violence and discrimination against women in 1999. Norway, Iceland, Canada (with exceptions), Northern Ireland and most recently France have also enacted demand-focused, abolitionist laws, to combat the multi-billion dollar sex trade and its economic engine, sex trafficking. This legal framework is known as the Swedish or Nordic model.
“Passage of the Irish law is a testament to the survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking, who tell us with immense courage about the unspeakable horrors they’ve endured at the hands of sex buyers, traffickers and pimps,” said Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of CATW. “This victory belongs to them. But today, we applaud Ireland for honoring the tireless campaigners and for showcasing its vision of human rights and equality for all.”