Uglymugs.ie is a scheme to help sex workers report violent attacks and monitor potentially dangerous clients. They recently published stats compiled from their first five years of existence here.
Given the numbers, it’s no shock that the Sex Workers Alliance have chosen to mark International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers tomorrow. It’s an event which kicked off in 2003 to commemorate victims of the Green River Killer – a homicidal maniac who was convicted of 48 killings and confessed to twice that afterwards.
An incredibly ballsy effort by the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland is chipping away at the moralistic tone of the whole criminalisation debate and injecting a “human rights approach based on harm reduction and decriminalisation” into the argument.
Much of the research they draw on is international. Leading them to issue a press release a few weeks ago in response to Frances Fitzgerald’s “Ireland knows best” policy making by saying they were:
“Extremely concerned about legislation that would criminalise the purchase of sex, proposed today by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. This law is short-sighted and ignores the severe negative impacts it would have on the safety and health of sex workers, and the increased stigamtisation it would bring.”
They also pointed to a Queen’s University Belfast study that indicated buyers continue to purchase sex after a similar law was put in place up North. There’s no evidence in Sweden that similar laws have reduced demand while criticism of the criminalisation of clients on health grounds was raised in medical journal The Lancet.
The Sex Workers Alliance went on to say:
“The Minister needs to take a human rights approach and listen to current sex workers, who will have to live with this law. Sex Workers Alliance Ireland holds firm its belief that decriminalisation is the ideal model to keep sex workers safe.”
If you are looking for an alternative take on this whole debate, you could do far worse than listening to Kate McGrew of RTE’s Connected Show chatting to Roisin Ingle on a recent Irish Times podcast. Elsewhere, in Canada, some smart arse put those Lego movie making sets to use and made this super short video that explains how their new laws on sex work, eh, won’t work.
Give the interview with Kate a whirl over here and follow SWAI for more. Tomorrow’s vigil starts at 6pm at the Dail.