19-Jun-2016 04:17

Speaking at a meeting about the issue in Brussels, Nusha Yonkova, Anti-Trafficking Manager with the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI), said: “It is clear the international debate on how to end sex trafficking has changed, with Northern Ireland about to join a growing list of jurisdictions targeting demand for this crime by introducing sex buyer laws on June 1.” In October, the Northern Ireland Assembly voted by 81 to 10 in favour of making it a crime to pay for sex.

The ICI is one of 38 European organisations calling on politicians at both national and EU levels to enforce stricter punishments for pimps and traffickers.

“I’ve witnessed first hand how these issues happen because when the 1993 laws were brought in Dublin.

It ended what was a brilliant relationship we had with the guards because they were on the streets chasing curb crawlers instead of protecting us women,” she says.

A SEX WORKER is to challenge Northern Ireland’s sex buyer legislation in Europe and will consider the same in the Republic when laws come into effect here.

Dublin-born law graduate Laura Lee says she and other campaigners intend to examine a number of grounds on which to challenge the new laws.

It’s too bad that the reality of the law is not so simple, nor so uncomplicatedly progressive.

Yonkova said sex buyer laws are fully supported by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, adding: “They also enjoy the unanimous support of the Oireachtas Justice Committee which spent two years examining the issues involved.” Sexual offences legislation which has been developed over the last decade is currently in draft form.

If passed, the bill will create new offences for purchasing sex in relation to prostitution.

I say that because, where information is known, clearly it needs to be used by the key agencies to protect the public and manage the offender.

The problem arises if that information is shared too widely, because the public can get in a very angry mood about sexual offenders, perhaps understandably, and that can turn into a difficult set of circumstances, not least because it may lead to sex offenders going underground and not complying with the registration arrangements.

In practice, the multi-agency work is overseen by the Northern Ireland Sex Offender Strategic Management Committee, which is known as NISOSMC for short.