Fwd: Homelessness and Prostitution in Ireland

Agent Smiley (smiley_777@hotmail.com)
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 07:12:34 PDT


----Original Message Follows----
From: smiley_777@hotmail.com
To: smiley_777@hotmail.com
Subject: Homelessness and Prostitution in Ireland
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 17:26:22 -0000

Begin forwarded message:

Original Article: http://www.egroups.com/list/anarchism/?start=805
 
Here comes some intresting letter from A-Info;
that I think every body sholud take a look at.

Adryan Linden

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________________________________________________
      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E
            http://www.ainfos.ca/
 ________________________________________________

        Homelessness - Prostitution
            Legalisation?

The sex industry is expanding and is said to gross 
millions of pounds per annum. Over the last year this 
has been reflected in the increasing focus in the 
media on prostitution. In October, a brothel keeper 
was arrested and charged. In November, Young Fine Gael 
passed a motion supporting the legalisation of 
prostitution. It is now a popular topic on the late 
night chat shows on tabloid radio stations.

This summer, an inevitable tragedy happened. As a 
result of having to work unprotected on the street 
Sinead Kelly, a young Dublin prostitute, was murdered 
as she worked. Politicians and high-ranking cops shed 
crocodile tears for the cameras. Few of them pointed 
out that it was their stringent laws that made Sinead 
Kelly an easy target.

Prostitutes can be, and sometimes are, charged with 
soliciting when reporting attacks to the police. 
According to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, 
this inhibits them from reporting attacks and 
increases their vulnerability. A survey carried out in 
1996, found that one in five prostitutes had been 
attacked by clients, and that 11% had been raped. 
Despite the media image of our Garda 'Siochana', 
workers in this industry find precious little 
protection from the cops against such attacks.

In 1993, the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 
criminalised soliciting and kerbcrawling for the first 
time. It gave the cops further license to harass 
prostitutes. Anyone found loitering with the intention 
of soliciting can be directed by a cop to leave that 
place immediately. Failure to comply can result in a 
250 fine for a first conviction, 500 for a second 
and 500 plus four months imprisonment for a third or 
subsequent conviction. In the first seventeen months 
of the Act, 116 women were prosecuted, with only 12 
prosecutions of men. Clients who pay for sex with 
minors are rarely prosecuted.

Juvenile prostitution is directly linked to 
homelessness. A new report by Focus Ireland shows that 
homelessness has doubled in the last four years. 
Focus, which has centres in Dublin and Limerick, dealt 
with 6,000 homeless people last year. 788 of them were 
under 18. The government says there are only 2,500 
homeless people in the entire country. The Eastern 
Health Board (EHB) published a Working Group Report in 
September of 1997. Fifty seven people from the ages of 
11 to 18 were reported to have been homeless and 
involved in prostitution.

There were only six emergency beds for under 18s in 
the whole of Dublin. The adult homeless shelters are 
too dangerous for children and many of them don't 
admit children because of this. It is safer for them 
to sleep on the streets. If children do seek help they 
must go to a cop station were they are put in touch 
with the EHB. This is obviously not an option for kids 
in trouble with the law.

The EHB social workers are obliged by law to return 
"intentionally" homeless children to their homes. This 
applies even if they left to escape sexual abuse or 
physical violence. The next day sees many of these 
kids back on the streets.

This negligent system leaves homeless children very 
vulnerable to exploitation. Sometimes they will go 
with punters just to get a bed and some food. 
According to the EHB Working Group Report there has 
been evidence of organised exploitation of homeless 
children, but there have been no prosecutions.

The government uses typical authoritarian rationale 
when dealing with prostitution. It will fine 
prostitutes hundreds of pounds, forcing them to work 
for longer hours on the streets to pay the fines. It 
will also imprison them, which costs 900 per person a 
week. The figure for running prisons in Ireland stands 
at over 100 million a year. This will increase when 
the new women's prison under construction at Mountjoy 
is completed. A fraction of this money would house all 
homeless kids and end much juvenile prostitution.

In October, a brothel keeper was arrested and charged. 
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act made it illegal 
to live off the earnings of a prostitute. At the time 
the Minister for inJustice argued that the 
restrictions would "provide further protection against 
the exploitation of people who feel they have no 
choice but to prostitute themselves".

In effect it means that, whenever a brothel is closed 
down, prostitutes are forced to work on the streets. 
Chest infections, the flu and other illnesses are 
common because they have to work outdoors for hours at 
night. It also makes them easy prey for attackers. The 
only "further protection" the law gives with regard to 
prostitution is to public puritanical morality.

The Workers Solidarity Movement is opposed to the 
criminalisation of soliciting. It only makes 
prostitutes more vulnerable. It leads to further 
victimisation from the cops. It creates a stigma of 
sleaziness and makes criminals of already marginalised 
people. We support the right of people to choose this 
profession, and their right to work in comfort and 
safety. We reject any judgements of these people made 
by the church, the state or other 'moralists'.

We recognise that prostitution will not end until 
capitalism does. In the meantime, we call for the 
decriminalisation of soliciting. "Tolerance zones" 
should be established where prostitutes can work 
without harassment. Brothels should not be harassed by 
cops or any moralistic laws.

All aspects of their business should be controlled by 
the prostitutes themselves. It is only through 
workers' control and not state control that 
prostitution will be a safer occupation to work in.

Uisce

Hey! Frank Fahy, can you even spell injustice?

CHILDREN as young as twelve can be bought in Dublin. 
Boys in the Phoenix Park, girls in Benburb 
Street/Smithfield. This scandal is not invisible but 
government action to help these children is. Abused 
children require special services, they need full-time 
support and care. They have to learn how and who to 
trust.

The Liffey Voice, a community paper in Dublin's north 
west inner city, approached the Minister of State for 
Children, Frank Fahy, in person and got his agreement 
that he would answer a range of written questions. The 
reporter faxed them to him. No response was received, 
despite several phone calls to his office.

A spokesperson for the Minister said child 
prostitution was not within Mr Fahy's area of 
responsibility. The Liffey Voice was told that he 
deals with children's education, health needs, and 
injustices against children.

The Dublin government has signed the UN Convention on 
Children, which states that children should have a 
right to protection against sexual abuse and 
exploitation. Frank Fahy refuses to acknowledge that 
responsibility. After all, they are only badly abused 
children with serious problems. You couldn't expect a 
Minister to involve himself with stuff like that, 
could you.

This article is from Workers Solidarity No 56
published in March 1999
More articles from this issue at
http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/ws99.html
Email us at wsm_ireland@geocities.com

This article is from Workers Solidarity No 56
published in March 1999
More articles from this issue at
http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/ws99.html

>From Irelands's Workers Solidarity Movement
http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/wsm.html
Email us at wsm_ireland@geocities.com


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