“We must be under no illusions – sex trafficking is happening in every city, town and village across the country, and it is overwhelmingly women and girls who are sacrificed to fill the demand for sexual gratification from so-called ‘sex buyers’,” said Ruhama CEO Barbara Condon.
They may not look like victims of sex trafficking because they are not locked away, and they may be able to attend health checks or go to Western Union to wire some money home.
“We know that buyers don’t care about the welfare of the person they are seeking so-called ‘sexual services’ from, even when they are victims of trafficking. Paying for sex is not an expression of sexuality: it is primarily the assertion of male dominance over women.”
“We are deeply disappointed that no convictions against sex buyers have been secured under this legislation to date. The law cannot therefore be said to have been fully implemented” – Sarah Benson, CEO, Ruhama.
“It is now illegal to purchase sex in this country and the penalties for organising and profiting from prostitution have been increased. More needs to be done to ensure that these laws are properly enforced.”
2017 Martin Buber Award recognises missionary’s work, through the PREDA Foundation, helping children and women targeted by paedophiles and sex traffickers.
“There needs to be a consistent approach that supports those in prostitution and where we see pimps and other exploiters being prosecuted, not the women,” Ruhama said.
301 women were assisted by the NGO according to the 2015 Annual Report including 94 victims of sex trafficking, an increase of six over the previous year (88 in 2014).
Ruhama is urging the next government to make the Sexual Offences Bill an absolute priority and place it at the top of their agenda as soon as they come to power.
"This Christmas Day, while most of us settle down to a meal with loved ones, many women will be in brothels waiting for a call from their next buyer".
“In recent days the large scale loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea has once again highlighted human trafficking as a real and present problem” - Primate.