I originally got involved in the Immigrant Council of Ireland after the issues that happened in the media with myself and my boyfriend Manners. I had been getting negative/vicious messages sent to me regularly because I was in an interracial relationship. I decided during European Week against Racism to speak out against racism and the hatred of another person because of one's race. Ireland is now a country if many colours, ethnicities and religions and there are many children/teens, and indeed adults, being victims of ignorant and hurtful abuse.
I felt as someone in the public eye that people of colour might see our relationship as a sign of hope, of a changing Ireland. That young people who are being bullied because of their skin colour can think that we get the same comments and we're still ok.
I then began learning more about the different projects and campaigns that the ICI is involved with and the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign really appealed to me. I am a young woman of 22 years and I feel strongly for the women who have been trafficked to Ireland for the purpose of sex slavery and also those Irish women who have been lead to it. A lot of these women are promised a better life, an education and a real job when they come to Ireland, when they come they find themselves forced into prostitution.
The actions taken by the ICI to criminalise the sale of sex is what is needed to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the sale of sex and will cause the 180 million euro per anum industry to plumet.
Some people are of the belief that women enter willingly into prostitution and I was of this opinion before I got involved in the campaign, however their pain and emotional trauma is evident and documented by the organisation.
In 2010 the UK banned the purchase of sex from 'controlled individuals' which means from pimps or those that the trafficked women are dependent on. I think it is so important for these girls that the Irish Government takes this issue seriously and criminalises the purchase of sex. I think the more support the campaign receives the more the government will listen and I strongly back the ICI in it's efforts to save these women and protect them from harm.
Please show your support for the campaign by clicking here: http://www.turnofftheredlight.ie/action/
or donating http://www.turnofftheredlight.ie/donate/