News & Events


David Begg: End Sex Trafficking - Criminalise the purchase of sex

Issued on February 03, 2011 at 11:32 AM

David Begg - General Secretary

"A norm that promotes gender equality and global solidarity"

As awareness of the harm caused by sex trafficking and exploitation in the sex industry grows, men in favour of reform of Ireland's outdated prostitution laws spoke in support of the "Turn Off the Red Light: End Prostitution in Ireland" campaign on the 2nd of February.

Chaired by Theo Dorgan, among those to speak were two trade union leaders, David Begg General Secretary of ICTU and Eamon Devoy General Secretary of TEEU. They called for action to prevent the sexual exploitation of women and children in Ireland through dissuasive measures against those who buy sex.

Most women who are trafficked grow up in poverty and under difficult social circumstances in Eastern Europe or in the Global South.These women were promised something else when they agreed to be brought, trafficked, to Ireland or other western countries. To save and protect these women when they have succeeded to escape or get away from the criminal traffickers is of utmost importance.

We have to act against the demand.

The criminal networks and pimps who are organising the trafficking of women must be exposed, prosecuted and severely punished for their crimes against these women . But they are still not the main reason for the existence of trafficking and this modern kind of slavery. The main reason is men's demand.

Therefore we also have to act against the demand. We have to influence and change this male behaviour. We have to establish new and better norms in society. Norms that says no to trafficking and respects all women's right to a decent life.

The main objective is by law define a norm that promotes gender equality and global solidarity.

Assist people involved in prostitution to exit.

Mr Begg said: 'Having legislation in place that says we, as a society, do not believe it is acceptable for someone to buy another's body for sexual gratification, exploiting the poverty, past history of abuse or limited life choices of the person being bought, would send a very clear message that we are a society committed to equality.'

Mr Devoy added that prostitution could not be considered "work" and that we should be concerned to ensure that support services are in place to assist people involved in prostitution to exit.

The issue has been promoted within the movement by the ICTU Women's Committee.


More information on the event here.

Turn of the red light website - click here

Read the testimonies of some of the women in prostitution interviewed by the research team - click here