DUP peer welcomes landslide victory on Irish Sex Offences Bill

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A vote quashing opposition to a bill on the criminalisation of paying for sexual services in the Republic of Ireland has been welcomed by DUP peer Lord Morrow.

In a statement he said his own Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill, which was passed in Northern Ireland and received Royal Assent last January, "has in some way paved the way for it to be replicated elsewhere".

It made Northern Ireland the first part of the British Isles where it became illegal to pay for sex.

The Republic of Ireland is now considering a similar Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill, but it was met with some opposition from the Anti-Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit group who introduced an amendment - which has been voted out by 100 to 10.

Bríd Smith said she believed the Bill failed to understand more recent research which raised questions on issues around criminalising buyers of sex.

Speaking about the opposition's failure to change the Bill., Lord Morrow said: "I am extremely pleased to see the Republic of Ireland is following Northern Ireland who now have human trafficking laws in place. Northern Ireland was the first part of the UK to make paying for sex a criminal offence.

"Human trafficking in particularly is a heinous crime and where there are grounds to allow that to happen, then it should be eradicated.

"At the heart of this is protecting vulnerable people from abuse, harm and to make a difference to those victims of this despicable trade. I believe that my own private member’s bill on Human Trafficking and Exploitation has in some way paved the way for it to be replicated elsewhere.

"I sincerely hope as a result of this vote that it won’t now be long until it is enacted upon in the Republic.

"The passing of this latest legislation will send out a powerful message that the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is a cold house for this type of criminality," he added.

"Human trafficking is a scourge and must be tackled in an robust manner and with legislation now operative on both sides of the border, this will mean those who engage in this type of criminal activity cannot evade the law by crossing from one side of the border to the other."