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Councillor Mary Howard

Council concern for sexual exploitation

Serious concern about the exploitation of women relating to the sex industry was expressed by a local councillor this week.

In a motion presented to Clare County Council, Councillor Mary Howard asked that “this council recognises that the trafficking, exploitation and abuse of women and girls is taking place in County Clare and throughout the country within and as a direct result of prostitution. This council understands prostitution to be a form of men’s violence against women that affects individuals, communities, and society as a whole and that human trafficking for sexual exploitation is a modern form of slavery and an abuse of human rights”.

In the motion, which was strongly endorsed, she said, “This council calls on the Minister for Justice and Equality to implement the Justice Committees unanimous recommendations to introduce laws, which make it an offence to pay for sex and is seeking such laws. This legislation must criminalise the demand for paid sex, decriminalise the seller and provide social supports for those wishing to exit prostitution.

“This council recognises the need for this legislation to be enacted in this jurisdiction and will convey its views to the Minister for Justice and Equality.”

Councillor Howard has been an active supporter of TORL (Turn off the Red Light) since 2009. TORL is made up of Irish Civil Society Organisations, trade unions, NGOs and individuals working together to raise awareness about the damage of prostitution and sex trafficking, and lobby the government to legislate to put an end to the exploitation of women and children in the Irish sex industry.

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