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There is a focus on the law — the Nordic model — as the problem, whereas it is the implementation of the law which is the actual weakness. Imagine doing research on whether or not smoking cigarettes is a health hazard and requesting data on this from the tobacco industry? Or a major sugar company about dental health? Known as the Nordic model, the aim is to reduce demand for prostitution and break the connection between the sex trade and organised crime.
This would also decriminalise the selling of sex so that prostituted people are better able to seek support. This law shifts the burden of criminality from women — because it is largely women caught in commercial sexual exploitation — onto the punters. But since , the pro-prostitution lobby in Northern Ireland and the Republic have sought to abolish the law.
This is what makes it so shocking that EI was considered to be appropriate to provide much of the data for the research. It does not take a genius to realise that EI has a vested interest in getting rid of the law that seeks to deter punters. Although the overall message from the research is the law tackling demand is good for nothing — in fact a sizeable proportion in their sample said they would change their purchasing habits as a direct result of the law — 27 per cent said they would reduce and 11 per cent would be dissuaded altogether.
This is certainly not representative of the sex trade in either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, most of whom are thought to be migrant women with very poor English. There are no interviews with victims of trafficking or the organisations that support them. Indeed, only five out of pages in the report focus on trafficking. There is a focus on the law as the problem whereas it is the implementation of the law which is the actual weakness.
We need to pay attention to what Lazarus Trading actually trades in. They are the business architecture of Escort Ireland, which has spent the last twenty years trading in sexual access to women and girls.