THE country’s biggest advertiser of online prostitution has put a section on its website allowing sex workers to identify dangerous punters they have encountered.
Escort-ireland.com said the crudely named “ugly mug scheme” will improve the safety of sex workers, and reduce crimes committed against them.
Prostitutes who experience threats or violence are now able to fill in a form on the website detailing their experience.
Through drop-down menus that form allows the alleged victim to explain the type of violence experienced, how they were threatened, where it happened and make a detailed description of the alleged attacker. The location, form of violence and abridged contact details for the attacker will also be put on the website to be viewed by prostitutes advertising on it. The former prostitute who owns the escort-ireland site and calls herself “Patricia Albright” said: “Escorts can log on to our bad clients system 24/7 and browse and search reports. They can search by date, location, the type of offence or the phone number/email address that the bad client used.
“An important feature of our system is that escorts can choose to be warned about dangerous punters by text message. Most escorts do not have Internet access at all times, but an escort is never without her mobile phone.
“We want escorts to get the warning as soon as possible when there is a dangerous client about.
“In some countries there are sex worker support organisations operating ugly mug schemes, but there isn’t any here as far as we know. There is very little support available to sex workers in Ireland in general. We think an ugly mugs scheme is greatly needed here and an online service is ideal given that these days most sex workers are working indoors and using the Internet.”
In spite of the fact that escort-ireland.com is advertising prostitution in Ireland, an offence in this country, it escapes the rigours of the law because it is hosted outside the state. That allows it to amass, without fear of prosecution, adverts for more than 600 women, men and couples operating independently and in agencies across the country.
A spokeswoman for Ruhama, an organisation working with women in prostitution said: “Prostitution is emphatically about the abuse of women on a large scale and through our work of assisting women on a daily basis we see the hugely harmful effects of prostitution.
“It is farce for any organisation which profits from prostitution to attempt to market itself as having the best interests of the women at heart and to be able to protect them from any harm. These internet sites are promoting and facilitating the abuse and exploitation of women.”
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