Cllr Des Cullen.
Cllr Des Cullen.
In one of its last ever functions, Cavan Town Council has unanimously passed a motion calling for legislation to make it a criminal offence to pay for sex. Proposed by Labour councillor Des Cullen, the motion was forwarded to him by the Waterford-based 'Men’s Development Network’. It is one of 70 organisations throughout Ireland driving the 'Turn Off The Red Light’ campaign, which is calling for legislation to help end sex trafficking, abuse and exploitation.
A number of brothels have been closed down by gardai in Cavan Town in recent years. The motion is to be forwarded to the Minister for Justice.
Commenting on the motion which calls for legislation to outlaw paying for sex, Cllr Cullen said: “I think it is something that is happening everywhere across the country - unfortunately there are women and girls being trafficked.”
He pointed out that the law, as it stands, makes it an offence for women to be involved in prostitution, but there are no penalties for the men who pay for sex. He agreed with campaigners that the fear of such men “being named and shamed” would act as a real deterrent.
Rebecca Beegan, MDN campaign co-ordinator said she was delighted with Cavan Town Council’s support, and pointed out that last June, the Oireachtas Justice Committee unanimously backed the introduction of such laws against the buyers of sex. “The figures speak for themselves, 800 women for sale online everyday according to gardaí and 19 children found in 'commercial sex’ in Ireland in 2012, according to the US State Department in its annual 'Trafficking in Persons’ report. We are asking all local politicians to ensure that the new term will not be marked by continuing debates but with real action,” said Ms Beegan.