Is it all politicians can do, dream up new ways to imprison ordinary people?…Northern Ireland Assembly votes in laws to ban some people’s sex lives, and to impoverish and endanger sex workers

Posted: 21 October, 2014 in Sex Work
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Northern Ireland Assembly Around 17,000 men in Northern Ireland, 3% of the adult male population, pay for sex each year, according to new research.The first report of its kind on prostitution found that criminalising prostitution here would put sex workers in greater danger, was unlikely to deter customers and almost impossible to police.

Queen’s University questioned 171 sex workers online, 31 of which said they lived in Northern Ireland while 62 said they had sold sex here. Also quizzed were 446 people who had paid for sex, 51 of whom live here and 89 who had purchased it in Northern Ireland.

The research found:

  • 61% of sex workers thought changing the law would make them less safe;
  • 85% of sex workers believed outlawing the purchase of sex would not reduce sex trafficking;
  • 2% of prostitutes supported criminalising the purchase of sex;
  • 16% of clients said a change to the law would make them stop paying for sex.

Researches said there were around 350 sex workers available in Northern Ireland every day. The vast majority are online, with about 20 estimated to be involved in street prostitution, mostly in Belfast and Londonderry.

But of course the pleasures, livelihoods and safety of so many people means little to many selfish politicians who seem to enjoy putting other people in prison so they can feel good about their own equality or whatever.Now paying for sex is to be banned in Northern Ireland after members at the Stormont assembly backed the proposal.

The human trafficking and exploitation bill was tabled before the assembly by Democratic Unionist peer Lord Morrow.

The fate of the bill’s contentious clause six, proposing the ban on purchasing sex, was uncertain at the outset of the debate, with Sinn Fein’s decision to back the prohibition along with the DUP proving crucial. The clause was passed during the bill’s consideration stage by 81 votes to 10 shortly after 11.30pm.

Stormont’s justice minister, David Ford, leader of the cross-community Alliance party, opposed the clause.

While the legislation still has to pass further assembly stages, the significant majority support within the devolved administration means it is essentially now destined to become law.

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