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SPACE International
(Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment) @SPACEintl

We women gathered here today are members of SPACE International. SPACE stands for Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment. We are an international group of sex-trade survivors and our core membership currently spans Ireland, the US and the UK. We have come together for a single purpose – to call for the implementation of the Nordic Model in our respective countries.

We warmly welcome the recent recommendations by the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, which advise that the Irish government criminalise the demand for paid sex. In addition to the criminalisation of demand the Committee has made several other recommendations, including supporting the exit from prostitution of those who wish to do so; introducing the offence of grooming a child or vulnerable person for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and that the accessing of online brothel directories be made a criminal offence. We endorse all of these recommendations.

We agree with the conclusions of the Committees Chairman, Mr David Stanton, who said that the Committee had found persuasive evidence from Sweden that the demand for paid sex had been reduced there since the introduction of the ban on buying sex in 1999. He also stated that such a reduction in demand will lessen the incidences of harm associated with prostitution and weaken the economic basis for sex-trafficking into this State. Mr Stanton also said that the committee is of the view that a ban on the purchase of sex can be effectively and efficiently enforced by the Gardai.

In excess of 90% of people prostituted in Ireland today are young women from impoverished countries all over the world, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Nigeria and Brazil. The Gardai, in their evidence to the Committee in February of this year, clearly stated that prostitution in Ireland is overwhelmingly directed and controlled by organised crime. Pimping and trafficking gangs, both foreign and home-grown, have a stranglehold on prostitution in Ireland and have done for many years. For this reason we also welcome the recommendation of the Committee that the Criminal Assets Bureau be tasked with focusing on the finances and the flow of money to criminal organisations in the State and abroad.

SPACE was launched in the Irish Aid Centre, 27-31 Upper O Connell Street, at 10am today, 15th July 2013

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