rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Northern Ireland bans buying sex

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Last night, members of the Stormont assembly voted in favour of a bill that would outlaw the purchase of sex in Northern Ireland.

Buying sex is currently legal in Northern Ireland though activities such as brothel keeping, pimping and soliciting a person for the purposes of prostitution are against the law. Research shows that about 17,500 men pay for sex in Northern Ireland every year.

The proposal to outlaw purchasing sex is among a number of clauses contained in a bill aimed at amending Northern Ireland’s laws on trafficking and prostitution and was passed by 81 votes to 10.

The Guardian reports that “While the legislation still has to pass further assembly stages, the significant majority support… means it is essentially now destined to become law.”

This makes Northern Ireland the first in the UK to criminalize the purchase of sex, a move led by Sweden, which was the first country to criminalize the purchase of sex in 1999. Norway and Iceland adopted the model in 2009 and in December 2013 France followed suit.

Canada’s new prostitution bill, which would also criminalize johns, recently passed in the House of Commons. Bill C-36 must pass the Senate (which it most likely will) before being proclaimed into law before the end of the year.

That so many countries are now considering and/or adopting models of law that criminalize pimps and johns speaks to changing attitudes about the reality of prostitution, a growing understanding of the impact of prostitution on gender equality, as well as evidence showing positive results from countries that have adopted the Nordic model never mind the epic failures of models that have legalized or fully decriminalized the sex industry.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.