LIMERICK has the third highest number of prostitutes â€œavailable for saleâ€ in the country, a new report has revealed.
Local Fianna Fail deputies Willie Oâ€™Dea and Niall Collins have now backed calls to change the legislation regarding the sex trade, and bring those who purchase sex - rather than just those who supply it - before the courts.
As part of an ongoing campaign to end prostitution and sex trafficking in Ireland, the report by the Immigrant Council details that 56 women and girls were made available in Limerick on a number of escort websites.
The data was compiled two weeks ago, on April 29, and it is estimated that the true figure of those working in the trade may be much higher.
Nationally, there were some 1052 women offered for sale through eight randomly selected internet sites. Dublin and Cork had the highest number of escorts available, at 625 and 72 respectively.
This week, the same site again advertised 39 women available in Limerick and also highlighted that a number of new escorts would be arriving in Limerick shortly.
Webpages for the various women included mobile phone numbers, their age, height, bust size, nationality, languages they speak, and how much it costs to spend time in their company, with â‚¬100 being the standard fee for 30 minutes.
There is also an option to â€œride out the recession with budget female escortsâ€, who are available for a smaller fee over the phone.
Doras Luimni, the Limerick based organisation which works to promote the rights of all migrants, is among those behind the â€˜Turn Off the Red Lightâ€™ campaign, and have called on TDs to support legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex in Ireland.
Karen McHugh, chief executive of Doras Luimni, said it is evident that â€œthe demand for paid sex is an ongoing issue here in Limerick as well as every other village, town and city across the country.â€
â€œTo meet this demand, women predominantly and young people are being enticed and coerced to come to Limerick to service this demand.
â€œA societal and legislative change is required to show that it is not acceptable to purchase sex for male predominantly gratification,â€ said Ms McHugh.