Harsh realities of prostitution to be focus of campaign

Anti-trafficking campaign organisation Ruhama has launched a hard-hitting campaign to raise awareness about how women are being forced into prostitution.

Radio adverts and posters have been created around the slogan “women sell sex because they have to, not because they want to”.

The posters, showing a faceless female silhouette with a barcode over her genitals portray, according to Ruhama, the reductive nature of the sex trade.

It says the silhouette represents women who may be any age, ethnicity or nationality, but whose worth in prostitution is placed solely on the commercialisation of their bodies for sex.

“This poster contradicts the glamorous veneer and images used to advertise and normalise prostitution,” said Ruhama chief executive Sarah Benson.

“When you peel back the layers it is no more than the transaction of money to access another person’s body for sex. Who the person in prostitution really is becomes irrelevant in this interaction. The buyer’s desires and experience is what is prioritised.”

She said prostitution was a growing issue in Irish society. “Yet, it is rarely discussed with any real depth. We hope this controversial campaign will create discussion and confront society with the reality for women in the sex trade.”

She said Ruhama had chosen the slogan because it wanted to dispel the myth that prostitution was a viable career choice for women, when in fact, it was more of a survival option.

In the radio ad, a woman excitedly reads out a job advert to her daughter which states: “Young attractive women required to sell their bodies for sex. Conditions appalling, pay at whim of controlling pimps, pre-existing vulnerability a bonus.”

Ms Benson said: “We believe the reason many people don’t engage with the issue of prostitution is because they find it difficult to associate with it.

“We hope the scenario of a mother and daughter in the radio advertisement will help people to empathise with the issue because in the end, we are talking about somebody’s daughters, and indeed mothers who are affected.”


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