Womens Aid resign from DOJ prostitution research panel

A spokeswoman for Women’s Aid confirmed this evening to the News Letter that it has “formally withdrawn” from the panel of experts overseeing the research.

Justice Minister David Ford commissioned the research in April from a panel of academics led by Queens University Belfast (QUB). His aim was to address the debate over Lord Morrow’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill which will, if backed by MLAs next week, make it a criminal offence to buy sex from women in prostitution, viewing them as vulnerable victims.

Mr Ford has opposed the move, citing concerns that it would make women in prostitution more vulnerable and arguing that his research would allow women in the sex trade to have their voices heard in the legislative process.

However Women’s Aid said tonight that it has “withdrawn its name from the advisory committee for the research”.

A spokeswoman said: “Women’s Aid had serious concerns about the way the research was framed, and we are now considering the draft research.

Read more here.

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