We Don't Buy It

  • We don’t buy the myths
  • We don’t buy the lies
  • We don’t buy the misery

We Don't Buy It is a bold campaign that tells the truth about prostitution and sex trafficking in Ireland.

The campaign exposes the excuses and myths that allow prostitution to continue and highlights the overwhelming public opposition to this form of sexual exploitation. The vast majority of men in Ireland don’t buy sex and don’t buy the excuses of those who do.

Things like – ‘It’s the oldest profession in the world.’ ‘Men who purchase sex are only looking for companionship.’ ‘It’s a job like any other.’ ‘Most women enter prostitution by choice.’ Or, ‘it’s just a laugh.’ We’ve all heard them. We may have ignored them. We may have laughed. We may have thought, ‘I’m not getting involved here.’

This new campaign means that we can get involved by helping to bust the myths surrounding prostitution. By simply saying what the vast majority of us really think anyway. And by helping to keep and strengthen Ireland’s law that makes the purchase of sex illegal.

Prostitution is abusive and degrading

There are an estimated 1,000 women in prostitution in Ireland, and they are in practically every city, town and village across the country.

The majority of those in prostitution in Ireland are migrant women and girls coming from the poorest and most marginalised backgrounds. They have been drawn, and often tricked, into prostitution as a result of poverty, exploitation and other adversities. They are victims of child abuse. They have grown up in state care. They have experienced domestic abuse, lived in extreme poverty, have insecure immigration status, poor physical or mental health or may have substance abuse problems.

These adversities make them easy prey for the organised crime gangs that control the bulk of the sex trade and who are the only ones getting richer from the bulk of the enormous profits – access to a woman’s body can be sold again and again to keep their profit margins, the women and girls are moved regularly around the country from brothel to brothel, apartment to apartment, so-called massage parlour to massage parlour. They don’t know where they are. They often don’t speak English. They are tightly controlled, by violence, by threats to their families or children, or by crippling and inescapable debt bondage.

It’s What We Think

We Don’t Buy It is also based on what the vast majority of us think about prostitution anyway. According to a nationwide Red C survey, commissioned by We Don’t Buy It in October 2019, the vast majority of Irish people believe that:
  • Women in prostitution experience violence and abuse.
  • Women do not freely choose to enter prostitution.
  • The people who benefit most from prostitution are criminal gangs.
  • The Irish law* making the purchase of sex illegal is a good idea that they support.
  • The Gardaí need more resources to enforce it.

We Don’t Buy It is the one campaign that gives voice to the vast majority of men who don’t buy sex and don’t buy the excuses of those who do.

It’s not who we are. Let’s be honest.

*Under Part IV of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, it is no longer against to law to sell so-called ‘sexual services’ but it is a criminal offence to purchase sex. Those who break this law risk arrest, a conviction and public exposure.

Laws Work When You Keep Them

We Don’t Buy It was first launched in 2015 as the first All-Ireland campaign asking men and boys to make a stand against sex trafficking and prostitution. At that time we did not have yet have legislation in place in the Republic of Ireland to make the purchase of sex illegal.

However, since 2017, and the enactment of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, it is now a criminal offence to purchase sex and it is no longer against the law to sell so-called “sexual services.”

The majority of Irish people think that this law is a good idea.

You can join We Don’t Buy It today and sign up to our Declaration (link) to help strengthen and resource this law. One of the most effective deterrents for those who pay for sexual access is the risk of arrest and public exposure.

Sex Trafficking and Prostitution

Put simply, sex trafficking is the use of deception, threats, force or other similar means to recruit, transport, hold or receive a person, with the intention of exploiting them in prostitution. It is happening in Ireland today.

There is no certain way to tell if a woman has been trafficked or not. But it is estimated that up to 97% of women involved in the indoor or ‘off-street’ sex trade in Ireland (in locations such as brothels, massage parlours or sometimes, so-called nail bars) are migrant women. While this is not to say that all of these women have been trafficked, it is highly likely that a significant proportion have been.

For a more detailed explanation of human trafficking click here.