Ireland's sex trade is 'thriving' say campaigners

About 1,000 women are working as prostitutes in Ireland every day, an agency which supports those in the sex trade said.

Ruhama said it worked with 204 women last year, up 4% on the previous year, while the number of new victims of trafficking it has been alerted to remained static.

The group said there was a 9% increase in the number of women working the streets and seeking help.

Sarah Benson, Ruhama chief executive, said it helped 80 women who claimed they had been trafficked to Ireland.

"This truly exemplifies the global nature of prostitution and trafficking and reflects the complexity of a frontline response such as that offered by Ruhama," she said.

"We are constantly adapting to ensure that we are mindful and respectful of the diverse cultural backgrounds of the women accessing our services."

Ruhama helped 70 women working as street prostitutes through its outreach service. It described Ireland's sex trade as thriving.

But the annual report warned that on any day up to 1,000 women and girls are selling sex in apartments, hotels, on the streets and in private clubs and massage parlours across the country.

Ruhama said that based on the location of women claiming they have been trafficked into Ireland the sex trade is not just a city issue but a feature of small rural parts of the country.

It said the majority of women referred to the agency for the first time in 2010 were working in indoor prostitution as escorts or in brothels.

Ms Benson repeated calls for vice laws to be reformed with the criminal burden placed on those paying for sex and not those selling.

"The focus has rightly turned in recent times, from the women and girls, and the small number of men and boys who are in prostitution towards those who are profiting," she said.

"This includes of course the buyers. The sex trade is a multi-million euro industry in Ireland fuelled by their demand.

"A positive step in overcoming this growth in the sex trade would be to stem demand by criminalising the buyers through legislative change."

Ruhama also called for new legislation to improve the policing of the internet and mobile phones to keep pace with advances in organised prostitution.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...