This should be an open letter to Aid agencies really. I thought it might actually be read here though, as Aid agencies..they don’t seem to listen to much.
Lets take the good things. The good women of these agencies, they work to rescue victims. Victims of prostitution, trafficking, general abuse. I don’t know, but I hope, that these agencies also help those addicted to substances exit prostitution, as of course these women probably need help. I know Ruhama do great work with victims of trafficking, helping them to relocate, find accommodation and employment. For this, Ruhama should be praised and funded.
I understand they rescued at least seven victims of trafficking and helped scores of others with counselling and other network support. I hope Ruhama also provide an outreach van, where they head to the streets daily, hand out clean needles to street workers, also offer an Ugly Mug service to them. You know, the actual stuff they really need to stop them from dying from shared needle use and associated illnesses?Help them avoid being beaten up and killed? Until they get ready to seek help? Maybe check they are ok, fed, not scared? Translate for them? – I hope so, because I really think maybe those women are just as vulnerable. And of course, we all help fund this help, so its good to see its working. I also hope Ruhama have ex sex workers on their staff..as who better to advise? It would be hard, to judge this situation as anything else, wouldn’t it? I really hope you offer that Ruhama. Its got to be of the same value as a polished Ad campaign.
Now lets take the bad stuff. There are at least 800 known sex workers in Ireland working at any given period. You know this, because there are profiles to reflect this. They don’t access your service, but undoubtably, some of them may be victims. however the majority actually are not. I know this, I and lots of my friends, are not, So..you support a bill that will criminalise our clientele? On the basis this will stop trafficking? Are we to assume then that seven hundred and forty people have just not been rescued or arrested yet? Don’t you think stopping trafficking might begin with starting to communicate and work with the escorting community, instead of making them further isolated? Are clients and escorts not the best people to alert others of possible issues? This is a strange idea. Did criminalizing homosexuality stop homosexuality? Men will always seek to buy sex. It’s the oldest profession, up there from the beginning of Christianity. So…Why no compromise? Why not push for a Bill that criminalises Sex with a trafficked Woman, knowingly or unknowingly? Why try to control the morality and future of the majority? Ruhama is supposed to mean new beginnings. Rebirth! I like this. I fail to see why your new beginnings can only be for the minority. We need to go forward and learn about each other. That will not happen while you make us sinners for wishing to do legally what you wish to criminalize, thus pushing our work further into illicit means and much more vulnerable to assault, abuse, and further lack of care. I won’t go away, Ruhama. I will just be pushed further into the dark. So where is my new beginning?