The Morrow Bill is just the start

Human Trafficking Exhibition Image 3_Methodist RecorderSo Lord Morrow’s ground-breaking private member’s bill introducing measures to tackle human trafficking has been passed by the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly. Much attention has been paid to Clause Six which makes paying for sex illegal. This correctly puts the emphasis on to men (the vast majority of the users) to rethink whether paying for sexual services is a good leisure activity. And this is the crucial next phase. When this bill becomes law it is cultural change that will deem it successful or otherwise. If this legislation leads to a new culture amongst men that paying to use a woman’s body for sex is unacceptable then it will have achieved its purpose. Demand for sexual services will fall and therefore the supply of women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation will follow suit. It is time for such a cultural shift- for too long society has had a casual approach to the grim realities of sexual exploitation against women. We have been too relaxed about prostitution as we have about rape, revenge porn and many other life-altering degrading experiences. So let’s recognise that this is only the beginning. There is so much more to do. But changing the male mindset has to be the key objective. 


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