Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
  • Publication
    Gender Equality and Sexual Consent in the Context of Commercial Sexual Exploitation: A study by the Sexual Exploitation Research Programme UCD, in collaboration with the National Women’s Council
    (National Women's Council, 2022-09-21) ; ; ;
    Building a society so that women can live free from violence and harassment is at the core of achieving equality for women in Ireland and globally. Sexual exploitation, harassment and violence are a cause and consequence of gender discrimination and must be located within a gender equality framework. The current sex trade is heavily gendered and migrant women make up an average of 84% of women in prostitution across 13 European countries. In Ireland, the profile of women in the sex trade (estimated to be 1,000 women at any one time) is of young, vulnerable migrants from the Global South and impoverished regions of Central and Eastern Europe. In the vast majority of cases the buyer is male, well-educated, with a medium to high income, whereas women find themselves in prostitution as a result of being trafficked, coerced, compelled by extreme poverty, or lack of other means of financial survival. Legalised regimes in Europe have resulted in an exponential growth in demand, with an estimated 400,000 women and girls in the German sex trade, with evidence of worsening conditions and severe exploitation that has profound consequences for women’s physical, sexual, reproductive and mental health. However, despite this evidence, there is growing pressure, particularly on young women, to understand prostitution within the framework of the neo-liberal concepts of individual agency, choice and autonomy and as a legitimate form of work which can be safely regulated in the market economy as with any other commercial transaction. This study set out to critically examine gender equality and the phenomenon of consent in the context of the commercial sex trade.