We are calling on the Garda Commissioner to immediately adopt policing policy which prioritises the safety of people in sex work over enforcement.
In Ireland sex workers are regularly prosecuted for ‘Brothel keeping’ under Section 11 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, 1993 (“1993 Act”). Sex workers can also be prosecuted for ‘Living on earnings of prostitution’ under Section 10 of the 1993 Act. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 (“2017 Act”) then increased the penalties for the offences of brothel keeping and living on earnings of prostitution.
UglyMugs.ie has recorded a 90% rise in crime and a 92% rise in violent crime against sex workers in the two years since the introduction of 2017 Act. This highlights the urgent need for a change in policing policy.
In the Statistics section of this website we provide the latest official statistics on brothel keeping. In the Cases section we detail the stories of 165 individual sex workers who have been convicted of brothel keeping over the last decade. We would ask you to pay special attention to the Analysis section where we present the key findings from our analysis of these brothel keeping cases. This analysis clearly finds that sex workers convicted of brothel keeping are overwhelmingly young, migrant women, many of whom are vulnerable for a number of reasons and all of whom are deeply harmed through criminalisation.
We note that in jurisdictions such as Vancouver in Canada and the UK police have formally adopted guidelines that prioritise the safety of people in sex work over enforcement. We are calling on An Garda Síochána to immediately develop and implement policy that will reduce harm to people in sex work.
About This Campaign
We are an informal collective of sex workers and allies. We want to see an end to people in sex work being criminalised. To reduce this harm as soon as possible, we are calling on the Garda Commissioner to immediately adopt policing policy which prioritises the safety of people in sex work over enforcement.
We acknowledge the limitations of policing policy and that only legislative change can ensure that no further sex workers are criminalised. We support the SWAI (Sex Workers Alliance Ireland) campaign for full decriminalisation of sex work. However, until such time as there is legislative decriminalisation in place, we are asking for policing policy that reduces harm to people in sex work by prioritising the safety of people in sex work over enforcement.