- 17 Apr 23
The announcement follows a harrowing few weeks for the sex worker community, with the murder of 27-year-old mother Geila Ibram earlier this month.
Sex Workers Alliance Ireland will hold a sex worker-only online meet up following the murder of Geila Ibram on Wednesday, April 19th at 5pm.
"This has been a terrifying time for the sex work community so we want to offer this online space, along with a trauma-informed sex worker-friendly therapist, to chat collectively," the organisation tweeted today. "We want to see you there. Please DM us on Twitter, email [email protected] or WhatsApp at 085 824 9305 to find out more."
News of the meeting comes following the killing of Geila Ibram, a 27-year-old woman and mother from Romania who was only in Ireland for three weeks when she was stabbed to death in Limerick. Habib Shamel, an Afghan national, appeared before court via video-link charged with her murder on April 8th. The sex worker community has been shaken by the murder, while the conversation on Ireland's sex work laws has arguably resulted in Geila being lost in the debate.
Controversially, Ruhama, co-founded by Sisters of Our Lady of Charity (OLC), and the National Women's Council of Ireland issued a statement calling for an end to the demand of sex work last week, while sex workers insist that ending poverty and creating safe workplace laws and practices for them is crucial.
We are holding a special sex worker-only online meet-up in response to the murder of Geila Ibram on Wednesday 19th April at 5pm.
We want to see you there. Please Dm us here, email info @ https://t.co/vzgFVYb7Jq or WhatsApp at 085 824 9305 to find out more. pic.twitter.com/7bPJXxtnEn
— Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) (@SWAIIreland) April 13, 2023
Linda Kavanagh, communications manager of the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland, released a letter of heavy criticism against Ireland's controversial Nordic Model laws following the murder, which sex workers proved makes them feel even more unsafe and over-policed in their workplace.
"The murder of a sex worker is the grim but obvious result of a law that disregards the voices and safety of sex workers," the statement begins. The law around sex work had been changed in 2015 to what is known as the Sex Purchase Law, or The Nordic Model, which criminalises the purchasing, but not the selling of sex in Ireland.
“When this law was being debated in 2015 and 2016, sex workers and allies warned that the law would increase violence against sex workers," Kavanagh says. "Since that time mountains of research, as well as the lived experiences of sex workers, have shown us to be correct. Everywhere the so-called Nordic Model has been passed, sex workers have been murdered. It has happened in France, it has happened in Sweden in the country of its origin, and now it has happened here.
"The laws surrounding sex work have made criminals of consenting adults and have done nothing to stem the rising tide of violence against women in Ireland. Those at the forefront of the fight against violence against women vocally support our misguided laws. They refuse to listen to sex workers when they say they want sex work to be decriminalised."
Sex Workers Alliance Ireland also issued a callout for donations through their PayPaul to provide Tesco vouchers for sex workers this spring: "Everyone is affected by the cost of living crisis, rising energy costs and housing insecurity."
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