77 people quizzed for buying sex in Garda crackdown

77 people quizzed for buying sex in Garda crackdown

The Garda National Protective Services Bureau, along with local protective services units in 16 divisions, targeted a total of 58 premises on November 11 and 12. The 16 divisions included operations in Cork, Limerick, Kerry and Waterford. Picture: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Up to 80 people were questioned on suspicion of buying sex in a two-day operation by gardaí.

It was part of a European initiative, organised by Europol, the EU police agency, and was aimed at targeting human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced criminality.

The Garda National Protective Services Bureau, along with local protective services units in 16 divisions, targeted a total of 58 premises on November 11 and 12. The 16 divisions included operations in Cork, Limerick, Kerry and Waterford.

Garda HQ said its operation focused on the purchase of sex and the protection of those engaged in the sex trade to identify individuals potentially being sexually exploited or trafficked.

The results of the days of action show:

  • 45 safeguarding visits conducted with individuals working in the sex trade;
  • 77 persons questioned on suspicion of having purchased sexual activity; 
  • One female victim of sexual/labour exploitation identified;
  • One male arrested for crimes relating to brothel keeping;
  • €10,170 seized as proceeds of crime for organised prostitution. 

A number of files will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

In a statement, Garda HQ said the operation took place under the umbrella of the Europol ‘EMPACT’ framework targeting human trafficking.

"In Ireland, The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 criminalises the purchase of sexual services and the soliciting or purchasing of sex from a trafficked person," it said. 

"An Garda Síochána’s two-day operation focused on an enforcement strategy of this legislation to target persons involved in the purchase of sexual services and the protection of individuals engaged in the sex trade.” 

The national days of action comprised of personnel attached to the GNPSB and local detective and protective service units across 16 Garda divisions throughout the jurisdiction.

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