“Re the announcement today. I was with the 3 sex workers at their meeting with the Minister earlier this month. She looked them in the eye and told them “sending a message” was more important than their safety. Make no mistake, this is NOT about protecting vulnerable women.” Wendy Lyon
Oh Minister Frances Fitzgerald is SO NOT about protecting vulnerable women.
At 2:04pm 23 October 2014 I sent Minister Frances Fitzgerald the same email referred to here:
Sworn Evidence Concealed By Justice Committee Stormont because while they concealed a whole page of my sworn testimony they did not see fit to also conceal my name, private rural address and phone numbers, placing me at significant personal risk.
It is now 10.45am 26 November 2014, so far the email has yet to be acknowledged. Let me share some excerpts from letters written about me by Professor Michael Fitzgerald who is the husband of Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald that are relevant (notice all addresses are pixelated):
Minister Frances Fitzgerald, my question is this:
What message was it so much more important to send than my safety?
“Any sex worker who dares to challenge the lies being told against then will be severely punished”
* 321. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality regarding her plans to introduce new legislation regarding the criminalisation of the purchase of sex, if she will take account of concerns and views of those working in the industry.. – Clare Daly
On 27 November, I published the General Scheme of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2014. The General Scheme of the Bill includes wide ranging provisions to enhance the protection of children and vulnerable persons from sexual abuse and exploitation. In addition, two new offences of purchasing, in the context of prostitution, sexual services will be created. The first is a general offence of purchasing sexual services which carries a penalty of a fine of up to €500 for a first offence and fines of up to €1000 for a second or subsequent offence. The second is the more serious offence of purchasing a sexual service from a trafficked person and carries a potential penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine. In both cases, the person selling the sexual service will not be subject to an offence. These proposals have been developed following extensive consultation, initiated by my Department, dating back to 2012 and which includes a recommendation from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence to introduce such an offence. I have met with representatives from both sides of the debate, including those working in the industry, and my Department has received numerous representations expressing views from both sides. I am satisfied that it is necessary to take steps to tackle the trafficking and wider exploitation of persons through prostitution. Unlike the existing offences relating to prostitution such as soliciting, loitering or brothel keeping, the new offences will specifically target the demand for prostitution. My Department will continue to provide help and assistance to victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation including those seeking to leave prostitution. In 2014, the Department of Justice and Equality allocated €172,000 to Ruhama, an NGO working with women in prostitution and those exiting prostitution, in order to support Ruhama’s work in assisting women victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Support services to suspected victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, including those in prostitution, are provided by the Reception and Integration Agency, the Human Trafficking Team of the HSE, the Legal Aid Board and An Garda Síochána in relation to accommodation; medical care and planning; psychological assistance; material assistance; legal aid and advice; accessing the labour market and vocational training, personal security; translation and interpretation services; etc. The Womens Health Service of the HSE also provides medical and other support services to women in prostitution and exiting prostitution. In terms of the specific question concerning the trafficking of persons for prostitution and sexual exploitation, I would draw the Deputy’s attention to the existing legislative provisions addressing the trafficking of persons for the purposes of exploitation (including sexual exploitation) which can attract significant penalties. The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 prohibits trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Any person found guilty of such an offence shall be liable to imprisonment for life or a lesser term, and at the discretion of the court, to a fine. It is also an offence for a person to solicit or importune a trafficked person for the purposes of prostitution with a potential penalty of imprisonment for up to 5 years and / or a fine