• Clodagh Meaney

EMPWR's WKND RNDUP: Eileen Flynn, Maura Higgins, calls to decriminalise sex work and Black is King

ICYMI: EMPWR's round up of the weekend's breaking news.

By Clodagh Meaney



Welcome to EMPWR's WKND RNDUP.

We have gathered some of the key events of the weekend so you can start your Monday up to date on everything you may have missed.


Eileen Flynn


This weekend, Eileen Flynn became the first ever Traveller to be elected to the Seanad.


She is one of Taoiseach Micheál Martin's 11 chosen nominees to serve as a senator.

The mother of one has campaigned for a number of causes including LGBTQIA+ rights, Traveller Rights, anti-racism and Free, Safe, Legal abortion laws.


Pavee Point, Traveller and Roma centre welcomed the news.

"This appointment is significant in highlighting the importance of the Traveller voice in Irish society and in the importance of acknowledging diversity," said Martin Collins, Pavee Point Co Director. 


"Pavee Point has lobbied for a long number of years for the Taoiseach to appoint a Traveller to Seanad Eireann as an acknowledgement of the need for diverse voices in our political system."


"We hope that this Government continues in this mode of action and implementation of real positive change that is desperately needed by Irish Travellers."


Maura Higgins


On Sunday Love Island star, and Queen of Ireland Maura Higgins announced that she is set to release a 34-piece make-up line with Inglot.


The 29-year-old has been teasing the launch of the collection since the beginning of the year, keeping the collaborating brand a well kept secret.


The full collection will be available online from Wednesday at 8pm, and in 100 Inglot stores across Ireland and the UK from Thursday morning.


Decriminalising Sex-Work


Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland have once again called for the decriminalisation of sex work.


It comes following news that Ireland has been placed on a watch list over the decline in standards fighting human trafficking.


The annual, Trafficking in Persons report published last week by the US Department of State have downgraded Ireland to their tier two watch list, meaning that they will be continuously monitored for their breach of recommendations.


Kate Mc Grew, director of the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) and current sex worker said: Globally, sex work prohibitionists have been successful in conflating all sex work as trafficking."


"This, combined with the fact that other forms of labour draw more trafficking victims into Ireland, has meant that resources are being misspent on a strategy of criminalising the purchase of sex that has not been proven to stop trafficking," she said.


"This conflation has also meant that consenting sex workers working together for safety have been caught up in so-called brothel raids."


"In fact, the only people who have been arrested for brothel-keeping in Ireland have been young, migrant women. The Sexual Offences law 2017 is being applied in a racist way, which has been noted by IHREC," she highlighted.


"The crime of sex trafficking is despicable and we in SWAI condemn it in the strongest way."


"It’s unhelpful to separate out sex trafficking from other forms of labour trafficking. Central to anti-trafficking strategies in other sectors are workers ability to organise, unionise and report," she continued.


Sex purchase laws have driven sex work underground and according to SWAI it moves victims of sex trafficking away from agencies that can help them.


"Data shows that sex workers are extremely unlikely to report to the Gardaí after being victims of a crime, despite violent crimes increasing against us by 92%," she explained, adding: "Other avenues of reporting and identification should be available to trafficking victims as recommended by this report."


Kate said that a firewall is needed between immigration and sex crimes in order for undocumented people to feel safe enough to report crimes against them without the fear of deportation.


"Decriminalisation of sex work is key and is a stance supported by PICUM Members (Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, International Labour Organization and The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)," Kate added.


"It does not decriminalise the crime of trafficking or coercion, but it moves sex work out of its quasi-legal state and empowers sex workers with labour rights and pathways to justice."


"Sex workers want to be allies," she explained, "and we are best placed to do so."


"But the law does not respond to the circumstances of deep poverty, domestic violence, homelessness, and drug mis-use that lead some to becoming susceptible to trafficking," she concluded.


Beyoncé


Beyoncé, as she always does, surprised fans this weekend by dropping a trailer for an upcoming visual album set to stream on Disney Plus.


It comes just weeks after news she has signed a multi-million dollar deal with the production company to release three films with them.

Black is King is a visual album celebrating African culture and based on The Gift, the soundtrack for 2019 film The Lion King in which she starred as Nala.


Black is King will be available to stream from July 31st.

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