UK News: Northern Ireland prostitution unaffected by Stormont legislation to criminalise paying for sex, report finds - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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UK News Northern Ireland prostitution unaffected by Stormont legislation to criminalise paying for sex, report finds

11:50  30 september  2019
11:50  30 september  2019 Source:   belfastlive.co.uk

Prostitution investigation sparks arrests across Northern Ireland

  Prostitution investigation sparks arrests across Northern Ireland Seven people detained by Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit detained the 57-year-old in the Belfast area. They say he was also arrested on suspicion of “controlling prostitution, brothel keeping and money laundering”.A woman was also arrested for suspected brothel keeping while five men were arrested at locations across Northern Ireland “on suspicion of paying for sexual services”.The PSNI says a search was also carried out and a number of electronic devices were seized.

Sex workers campaign at the gates of Stormont while MLAs debate the criminalisation of paying for sex . Similar legislation has been enacted in Sweden and Ms Lee said If passed by Stormont , Northern Ireland will be the first part of the United Kingdom where the purchase of sex is made illegal.

Legislation as drafted would create 'hierarchy of criminal liability' for sex workers in Northern Amnesty International has urged Northern Ireland 's politicians to ditch plans to criminalise the Amnesty stressed it was not taking sides on the debate over sex work and prostitution , but said sex

a black sign with white text: Prostitution has not been affected by Stormont legislation, Queen's research has found © Getty Prostitution has not been affected by Stormont legislation, Queen's research has found

Research into Stormont legislation on paying for sex “has had minimal to no effect on the demand for prostitution”, research has found.

The Queen’s study of the 2015 legislation on the offence of purchasing sexual services also established that there was little effect on “the number of active sex workers in the jurisdiction and on levels of human trafficking for sexual exploitation”.

The research was commissioned by the Department of Justice who say it “reported on the impact of the legislation on the demand for sexual services, the safety and well-being of sex workers, and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation”.

Police arrest brothel owners and five men who paid for sex

  Police arrest brothel owners and five men who paid for sex In a major human trafficking operation police have arrested a man and a woman who they suspected of running a brothel while a further five men were arrested for paying for sexual services.A 27-year-old woman was arrested in the Antrim area on suspicion of controlling prostitution, brothel keeping and money laundering. Both of the suspects were taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning.

Northern Ireland 's first and deputy first ministers have intervened in a sex worker's court challenge to a new law that makes paying for sex illegal. The legislation was brought before Stormont by the Democratic Unionist Party peer, Lord Morrow, as part of his Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill.

Sex workers in Northern Ireland are overwhelmingly opposed to the introduction of a law that could criminalise those who pay for prostitutes . Democratic Unionist peer and Stormont assembly member Lord Morrow has been attempting to introduce a “Swedish model” law into Northern Ireland

The review reported that, in the period from June 2015 to December 2018, there were 15 arrests and two convictions for purchasing sex and 31 arrests and two convictions for human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

As well a minimal effect on demand, the researchers also “found that the supply of commercial sexual services appears to have actually increased in the period following the implementation of the legislation”.

They added that “many sex workers in the narrative interviews also reported a huge surge in business around the time that Article 64A was legislated for”.

The researchers said that “one of the strangest findings for the researchers concerns the apparent increases in the supply of prostitution in the post-law period”.

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Paying for sex is to be banned in Northern Ireland after Stormont Assembly members backed the move in a landmark late-night vote. The proposal to outlaw purchasing sex is among a number of clauses contained in a bill aimed at amending Northern Ireland 's laws on trafficking and prostitution .

The Northern Ireland Assembly has voted by 81 to 10 in favour of making it a crime to pay for sex . MLAs spent several hours on Monday debating the measures, which formed part of a private member's bill on Sex workers protest at Stormont during the debate to criminalise the purchase of sex .

Much of the data they obtained came from the Escort Ireland platform. They noted that in the pre-law period, there were 84,609 advertisements for commercial sex placed on the platform, but in the post-law period this increased to 88,851: an increase of 4,242.

a clock sitting in the dark: Sex is increasingly sold online, the research found © Getty Sex is increasingly sold online, the research found

One issue with regard to gaining prosecutions, the report found, is that the “on-street sector in Belfast, which was marginal to begin with has in 2019 all but disappeared”, meaning patrol officers are unlikely to come across transactions mainly conducted on the internet.

Kate McGrew, a sex worker and spokesperson for the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland said the legislation jas resulted in “an increase in sex trafficking by 26% and the health of sex workers [being] put at risk”.

She added: “Sex workers in Ireland tend to work both jurisdictions so a lot of the findings in this report will be applicable to the Republic of Ireland. If the purpose of the law was to decrease demand it has failed. If the purpose of the law was to help sex workers it has failed.

Man arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, brothel keeping and money laundering in Belfast

  Man arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, brothel keeping and money laundering in Belfast A 27-year-old woman has also been arrested in the Antrim area on suspicion of controlling prostitution.A search was also carried out and a number of electronic devices were seized.

At present, prostitution legislation criminalises aspects of selling sex , for example running a brothel. Justice Minister David Ford, who described the bill as Last month, the Irish government announced that it also plans to criminalise the payment of prostitutes in the Republic of Ireland .

Paid - for consensual sex had previously been legal in Northern Ireland although activities such as kerb crawling, brothel keeping Northern Ireland followed Sweden and Norway which have already passed legislation Sex workers protest at Stormont during the debate to criminalise the purchase of sex .

“In the north, it led to massive increase in advertising (on one site alone over 1700 new ads) and demand (in one jurisdiction by 134%) and a 200% increase threatening behaviour in clients. In the south, it led to an increase of violent crime against sex workers by 92% The law is a failure on the entire island of Ireland.

“Sex worker rights activists fought for the liaison officers to remain in public protection, not enforcement. This has resulted in sex workers in Northern Ireland are very appreciative of the work that the PSNI liaison officers do. The PSNI were vocal about their opposition to the law.

“They knew it would make their work more difficult, and that is reflected in their policing. Gardaí have an increasingly antagonistic approach to sex workers since the change in the law in 1993. Policing consensual sex work does not reduce trafficking and is a waste of resources.”

The review was commissioned by the Department under section 15 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act 2015 which introduced the offence and required a review of its operation after three years.


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