To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2014; and if the passage of this legislation will be expedited in view of the upcoming reforms in neighbouring jurisdictions, which could negatively impact on this country – Seán Kyne
Reply: Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald
On 27 November 2014, I published the General Scheme of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill. The Bill will introduce new offences of purchasing, in the context of prostitution, sexual services which are directed at the demand side of prostitution with a view to tackling the exploitation, including trafficking in persons, associated with prostitution. The General Scheme also contains wide ranging provisions to enhance the protection of children and other vulnerable persons from sexual abuse and exploitation. The Bill will also implement the recommendations of a number of Oireachtas Committees, reform the law on incest and update the Sex Offenders Act 2001. Addressing these sensitive issues makes this a complex piece of legislation. It is currently being drafted, with a view to publication in this parliamentary session.
I would also like to advise the Deputy of existing laws in the area of prostitution. Under section 6 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993, it is an offence to solicit in a street or public place for the purpose of prostitution. It is also an offence under the 1993 Act to organise prostitution, to knowingly live on the earnings of a prostitute or to keep or manage a brothel. In addition, public order legislation prohibits the advertising of brothels and prostitution. I am satisfied that these provisions are adequate to address any impacts to this State arising from upcoming reforms in other jurisdictions.