Women ‘for sale’ in Limerick

TODAY in Limerick there are 46 women “for sale” on one internet site alone, a conference on Human Trafficking has heard.

TODAY in Limerick there are 46 women “for sale” on one internet site alone, a conference on Human Trafficking has heard.

The statement was made by Denise Charlton of the Turn Off the Red Light campaign who was speaking on the subject of the purchase of sex, during a conference entitled Human Trafficking – The Problem of Identification.

The conference which was hosted by Doras Luimni in the Hunt Museum to mark EU Anti-Trafficking Day heard how the majority of individuals buying sex are now doing so on the internet as it is not illegal to do so.

“In order to buy her all I have to do is go on the net and put in what I want- ethnic minority, colour eyes, whatever, and she gets delivered to my apartment or someone else’s apartment, or a hotel room and afterwards I can rate her,” explained Ms Charlton of how individuals purchase sex on the internet.

Turn Off the Red Light is campaigning to end prostitution and sex trafficking in Ireland. Those involved in the campaign believe that the best way to combat this is to tackle the demand for prostitution by criminalising the purchase of sex.

The women who are “for sale” Ms Charlton said, are usually being controlled by criminals or criminal gangs.

“And she is earning a lot of money for them - it is extremely profitable. That is the situation in Limerick and it is the same all over Ireland.”

At the moment, she said, individuals are “buying” at lunchtime, on their way home, while at the races, and the Ploughing Championships.

“These are all really busy times,” said Ms Charlton who is CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

Many buyers, the conference heard, don’t want 18-year-olds “they want younger than 18-year-olds”.

Ms Charlton said there has been a “massive amount” of research done on buying patterns “and what some men will say is the fact that she is young will deter them but for a lot of men it won’t”.

For most men, she said, the greatest deterrent is “name and shame”.

“They do not want people to know they pay for sex.”

Another guest speaker at last Thursday’s conference, retired Limerick-based garda inspector, John O’Reilly, spoke about his experiences working closely with the victims of human trafficking during his secondment with the United Nations mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002.

In his new book entitled Sex Slavery, the way back, Mr O’Reilly explains a new interviewing technique to combat the psychological effects of trauma on the behaviour of trafficked victims in the sex industry.

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