SIPTU has stated its support for measures included in the new Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 which includes legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex and ensure vulnerable women, children and men in prostitution can access supports. SIPTU National Campaigns and Equality Organiser, Karan O Loughlin, said: “The vital role that the trade union movement played in bringing about this new law was acknowledged by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, at an event yesterday (Wednesday, 8th March) to mark International Women’s Day and the passing of the Act. At the event in Dublin Castle the Minister commended the new law and highlighted the importance of the activity of the ICTU Women’s Committee on this issue. “SIPTU has been a long-time supporter of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign, which has been tirelessly working for the implementation of legislation which criminalises the purchase of sex. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, which was signed into law late last month, achieves this aim.” She added: “It is the SIPTU position that the best way to end sexual exploitation is to target demand by making it illegal to pay for sex while at the same time supporting those most vulnerable to abuse. We have always rejected the notion that the traffickers, pimps and other criminals operating the sex ‘trade’ will ever respect the rights of workers. Any suggestion that pimps will ever become model employers flies in the face of reality and the experience in other countries. “We welcome the passing of this vital piece of legislation and are proud that Ireland has joined the international trend to target those who perpetuate abuse.”