Future Direction of Prostitution Legislation in Ireland (2012)

Discover Doras Luimní's research and recommendations on Prostitution and Trafficking in Limerick.

Executive Summary


  • The criminalisation of demand for paid sexual services.
  • Shift the focus away from the supply side of prostitution. i.e. do not criminalise people engaged in prostitution.
  • Increased penalties and custodial sentences for persons who profit from the organisation and control of prostitution i.e. the pimps, landlords and people recruiting abroad.
  • Remove the defence of ‘strict liability’ in relation to child prostitution and victims of trafficking. 
  • Establish effective exit programmes for those engaged in prostitution.
  • Develop gender specific, safe and purpose built accommodation for victims of sex trafficking.
  • Develop unified Asylum Process and clear and concise Immigration Legislation.

About Doras Luimní and our work

Doras Luimní is an independent non-governmental organisation working to support and promote the rights of migrants living in Limerick city and county. The core areas of our work are direct support, advocacy and campaigning, and integration planning. We have a dedicated antitrafficking office and lead an outreach project for those engaged in street based prostitution.

National Context

  • Evidence suggests that between 93-97% of women working in prostitution in Ireland are migrants (Kelleher et al, 2009).
  • There is a large number of migrant women involved in both indoor and outdoor prostitution.
  • Migrant women are particularly vulnerable due to issues relating to social welfare, language, and other barriers.

Prostitution in Limerick

  • Limerick has a high level of organised prostitution. Since 2010, 126 people have been arrested as part of one Garda-led operation alone. There have been a number of high profile court cases recently indicating the lucrative nature of the business.
  • There is a particularly high involvement of organised crime in prostitution in Limerick.
  • The Gardaí in Limerick launched two effective operations against prostitution in 2011-2, focusing on both the pimps and men who buy sex. We believe that this operation offers a template for an effective police response to prostitution.
  • The recent Garda operations resulted in significant public debate locally on prostitution and men who buy sex which, we believe, highlights the need for a widespread change in attitudes towards prostitution.