Irish Medical Organisation

IMO supports campaign to criminalise payment for sex

Turn Off the Red Light Campaign

Friday 24th August 2012

The Irish Medical Organisation has submitted their recommendations to the Department of Justice and Equality with a Committee due to consider the laws surrounding prostitution in Ireland.

The IMO is a supporting member of ‘Turn off the Red Light’ (TORL) Campaign, calling on government to protect those involved in the sex industry and outlaw paying for sex. Members of the campaign today (24th August) gathered in front of Leinster House highlighting as one body the need for legislative change as the deadline for submissions draws near to a close next week.

The IMO submission considers the health implications for those in the sex industry.

·         International research shows that sex-workers and those trafficked for sex are exposed to a wide range of physical and mental health problems in addition to HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease.

·         Mortality rates are higher among females in prostitution than the general population.

·         Purchasers of sex exploit those who in most instances are forced into prostitution because of poverty, homelessness or drug addiction. 

Speaking on behalf of the IMO, Vice-President & consultant psychiatrist Dr Matthew Sadlier said, “A wide range of measures are necessary to combat prostitution and sex trafficking. Experience from Sweden shows that criminalising the purchase of sex and not the sale of sex has reduced demand and contained the extent of prostitution.”

Turn Off the Red Light encourages Government to amend the 1993 Sexual Offences act to criminalise the purchase of sex whilst at the same time decriminalising those who sell sexual acts. It also recommends that the change in legislation be complimented by offering comprehensive support services for people in prostitution who wish to exit.

“The IMO is in full support of the Turn Off The Red Light Campaign and calls on government to introduce legislation which makes it illegal to buy sex”, said Dr Sadlier.


Turn off the Red Light (TORL) is supported by 55 member organisations including the IMO and is led by the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

See the IMO Submission (Consultation on the Future of Prostitution Legislation) for further details.

Irish Medical Organisation
10 Fitzwilliam Place
Dublin 2
01- 676 7273


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