The Immigrant Council of Ireland claims organised crime gangs are running an international sex trafficking network stretching from Nigeria and Cameroon to Ireland — making them an estimated €600,000 per day.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) says it is pursuing 25 cases on behalf of women and girls brought into the country by “pimps, traffickers, and thugs” to be sexually exploited. It revealed the figures at an annual Mothers and Daughters fundraising lunch in Dublin to support the frontline services for trafficked women and girls.
“During the first eight months of the year it reported 11 new cases — with the majority coming from Nigeria,” it said.
“Sex buyer laws, which will end demand for these crimes, must be implemented by Christmas to put the pimps out of business,” said Denise Charlton, anti-trafficking expert with the Immigrant Council. She told the lunch that, after the drugs trade, sex trafficking is now the second most lucrative crime for gangs operating in Ireland.
“They have brought organised crime to every part of our country,” said Ms Charlton. “These criminal enterprises are pocketing an estimated €600,000 a day from abuse, violence, and rape — and we should be clear it is the men who buy sex who are putting that cash into the pockets of thugs.”
Earlier this week, Ireland moved to join the list of countries which are targeting the buyers of sex.
“The new Sexual Offences Bill will ensure that we are no longer a safe haven for those who use vulnerable women to line their pockets,” the council said.
“Like every other frontline agency working with victims of sex trafficking we back these laws and want to see them become reality by Christmas.
“Last year, we recorded our busiest year to date, with 19 women coming to us for help. So far this year we have been contacted by 11 more seeking help. As an Independent Law Centre, we have 25 active cases involved and the women involved are from Africa, South America, as well as Eastern Europe. Our time to wreck the business model for this evil, vicious, exploitative trade has arrived and it is time for our political leaders to act swiftly.”
Ruhama, another organisation which supports sex workers, has also welcomed the criminalisation of the purchasers of sex. However, it has expressed concerns that those who work in prostitution, mainly women, have not been decriminalised by the new legislation.
Ruhama chief executive, Sarah Benson, said: “The risk of a criminal charge can also act as an inhibitor to women in reporting crimes committed against them. We believe that nobody should be criminalised for their own exploitation.”
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