The Union of Students in Ireland is dismayed at yesterday’s statement by the National Women’s Council of Ireland on the killing of Geila Ibram in Limerick last week.

USI was horrified at the awful killing of 27-year-old Geila and offer our sympathies to her young children, family and friends, and is calling for government to introduce better laws to protect sex workers and prevent further such tragedies.

At USI Comhdháil last week, delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion supporting the decriminalisation of sex work and to working with sex workers and sex worker-led organisations to improve the lives of sex workers in Ireland.

The motions outlined how “decriminalisation would ensure that sex workers feel able to report unsafe clients or violence at work, without the worry of criminal repercussions.”

USI feels yesterday’s statement engaged in victim blaming by stating that Geila died because she was a sex worker. No woman deserves to die violently at the hands of a man and her death highlights the need to update laws to protect sex workers.

USI Vice President for Welfare, Sarah Behan said: “We at USI are appalled by the joint statement released by the National Women’s Council of Ireland with Ruhama and the UCD Sexual Exploitation Research Programme in relation to Geila’s death. USI is committed to raising awareness of violence against women at a national level. Last week at Comhdháil, motions were passed remembering victims of femicide, as well as to continue our fight for sex workers rights. The sex work motion also mandates the 2023-2024 Coiste Gnó to examine and review our relationships with organisations who hold harmful views and prejudices of sex work and sex workers. Additionally, USI is committed to lobbying against the Nordic model of sex work laws and to encouraging government to legalise all aspects of sex work.”