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Ireland: Doctors call for buying sex to be made illegal

Publish Date: 29 Apr 2011
Source: Irish Times
By: Ethne Donnellan

DOCTORS HAVE urged the Government to introduce legislation which would make it illegal for men to buy sex.

Delegates attending the first day of the annual conference of the Irish Medical Organisation in Killarney, Co Kerry, said this would be an important step in tackling the trafficking of illegal immigrants for the sex trade.

Public health specialist Dr Fenton Howell said Ruhama, the Dublin based group that works with women involved in prostitution, had called earlier this year for Ireland to adopt the Swedish model whereby men are prosecuted for buying sex and he agreed with their stance.

“In Sweden where that has happened for the last 10 years it’s reduced the level of prostitution and the illegal importation of women,” he said. Dr Howell said “something like 90 per cent of the indoor sex trade is being done by illegal immigrants” and it was “literally slave trade again” and it was very lucrative for those running it.

“One of the deterrents is if you can actually charge the men . . . if they know they’re going to be charged then it’s a deterrent right across the board.”

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly will address the conference today.