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Justice Minister reviews laws on prostitution

Last update - Thursday, March 1, 2012, 15:04 By Metro Éireann

The Government is currently reviewing Ireland’s laws on prostitution, with the aim of strengthening the protection of vulnerable persons, including women trafficked from Europe and Africa, the Minister of Justice has said.

Minister Alan Shatter was reacting recently to comments from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation that called on the State to criminalise the purchase of sexual services.
“As part of this review, I announced in the autumn that I would be arranging a consultation process on the future direction of prostitution legislation,” he said, adding that a detailed discussion document “to facilitate the consultation process” is being prepared and will be ready in the coming weeks.
The minister continued: “Public debate should be open to the widest possible audience and I want to ensure that everyone who wishes to make a contribution to this important debate is given the opportunity to do so.
“To help inform the debate, I have already published my department's report on Swedish legislation criminalising the purchase of sexual services [available at].”
The current Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 states Ireland’s obligations under various international instruments to criminalise human trafficking. Under the law is a criminal offence to traffic someone here for sexual exploitation, including prostitution, with penalty of up to life imprisonment. It is also against the law for anyone to knowingly solicit or importune a trafficked person, in any place, for the purpose of prostitution.
In addition, Irish law protects prostitutes from exploitation. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 makes it an offence to organise prostitution, to force or induce someone to be a prostitute, to knowingly live off the earnings of a prostitute, or to organise or keep a brothel.

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