Nightmare ordeal of sex trafficking victims

HUNDREDS of women are being trafficked into the country to work in the sex industry, which is thought to be worth €180m.

A report published yesterday presented data linked to the cases of 102 women trafficked here from African and central European countries and forced to provide sex to Irish clients.

However, the report’s authors said the 102 cases represented “an underestimation” of the actual number of women being trafficked, adding that 1,000 women are working in the Irish sex industry at any one time.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland report, Globalisation, Sex Trafficking and Prostitution, details how:

* 102 women and girls were trafficked here between January 2007 and September 2008, with 26 of them aware of 64 others brought here in the same period.

* 11 were children, and while the report was being compiled, researchers found 12 young people had told the separated children’s service they had been trafficked.

* 45 women suffered physical violence, 35 were raped and 14 experienced gang rape in their country of origin.

* The women are typically tricked into prostitution by people they know. They find themselves with debts of up to e65,000.

* Some entered the country legally, five arrived via the North, and in some cases Ireland was a transit post en route to Britain.

The report outlined the health impact of life in the sex industry. Women faced situations of buyers paying e450 for unrestricted sex.

Co-author of the report, Monica O’Connor, said the women found themselves in city centre flats and in small villages, with the internet the main conduit for sex buyers.

Immigrant Council chief executive Denise Charlton said a multi-agency approach was needed as women claimed existing services to help them escape prostitution were inadequate.

The council’s legal adviser Catherine Cosgrave said only Garda National Immigration Bureau superintendents could decide the merits of someone’s allegation of having been trafficked. She said two cases forwarded to the bureau this year had not yet been acknowledged. There were also calls for a 60-day recovery period for those caught up in the trade depending on cooperation with an investigation.


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