About the campaign:

The aim of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign was to end prostitution and sex trafficking in Ireland. The campaign was run by an alliance of civil society organisations, unions, non-governmental organisations and individuals. The aim of the campaign was to raise public awareness about the dangers of prostitution and sex trafficking and to lobby the Government to introduce legislation to end the exploitation of women, men and children in the sex industry. The membership advocated that the best way to combat sex trafficking and prostitution was to tackle the demand for paid sex by the introduction of  laws that proposed to target sex buyers, decriminalise those who sell sex and provide greater support to victims of trafficking and prostitution.

The campaign successfully advocated for the introduction of legislation that criminalised the purchase of sexual acts, in addition to criminalising pimping, procuring and trafficking of persons for sexual exploitation. In recognition of the vulnerability of those involved and exploited in prostitution this campaign also called for legislation that decriminalises the persons who are prostituted.

Within the new legislation, there are provisions that criminalise the purchase of sexual acts and decriminalise the persons who are prostituted and it was enacted in February 2017.   There is a planned review period of less than three years for this provision.

The campaign was an ‘alliance of interests’ with 70+ organisations participating to support the legislative change.


Turn Off the Red Light campaign is made up of the following organisations: