Tuesday, 11 June 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Ruth Coppinger (Dublin West, Solidarity)
Is the Taoiseach and his Government willing to consider amending the sexual offences legislation, given the prosecution last week of two women in Kildare? Those two sex workers were jailed for nine months for running or keeping a brothel. Solidarity submitted an amendment to that Bill to change the definition of brothel-keeping in order to decriminalise sex workers who were simply working together, in pairs and indoors, for their own protection. This was instead of living off the earnings of anyone else but themselves. The Government refused that amendment and we have now seen the jailing of women, including one who is pregnant. It was for these reasons that Solidarity did not vote for the Bill, as it continued the criminalisation of sex workers. It is wrong to victimise people who are working in the sex industry and I ask the Minister to seriously consider adopting our amendment or a variant of it now.