Over 600 ‘sale of sex’ convictions to be expunged in effort to recognise vulnerable victims
A TOTAL OF 607 convictions for prostitution offences will be expunged as part of a government initiative to respond to the needs of sex trafficking victims and people forced to provide sexual services.© Shutterstock
The move was announced by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee today. McEntee said officials in her department will draft the necessary legislative amendments to provide for the expungement.
Law changes introduced in 2017 decriminalised public solicitation by sex workers in a bid to target the purchaser of sex, rather than the seller.
The proposed expungement is therefore limited to people convicted on the basis they were offering their services as a prostitute.
An Garda Síochána identified 607 convictions to be expunged.
This includes 402 convictions recorded for soliciting or importuning for the purposes of prostitution and 205 convictions for loitering for the purposes of prostitution – failing to comply with a direction of a Garda.
The gardaí are satisfied that there are no other underlying or related offences involved in these cases that would caution against expungement.
“The erasing of all such convictions, and the expunging of the resulting criminal records, will send an immensely important message to those in the sex trade,” Minister McEntee said.
“It will firmly assert our national policy position that the focus of An Garda Síochána’s attention is not directed towards those in the sex trade, who are exploited and victimised, but rather towards those who are responsible for exploiting them and those who purchase and demand services,” she added.