1,000 women involved in sex industry every week, Dáil told


Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern

SOME 1,000 women were involved every week in the indoor sex industry in the Republic, Fine Gael immigration spokesman Denis Naughten told the Dáil.

“The majority of them are migrant women, most of whom have been trafficked into this country,’’ he said.

Mr Naughten urged Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to urgently review the existing provisions on prostitution laws and bring forward proposals that would clamp down on the potential exploitation and abuse of the Irish jurisdiction.

Mr Naughten was speaking during a debate on a Fine Gael Private Members’ motion on trafficking, which was discussed by the Dáil on Tuesday night and last night.

The motion called on the Government to end the policy of placing victims of human trafficking in asylum centres and introduce independent accommodation, support and protection services.

It also called for the extension of the remit of the Department of Justice’s anti-human trafficking unit to include migrant women in prostitution and establish a high-level group to examine the laws with a view to preventing the proliferation of sex trafficking.

Mr Naughten said that human trafficking was the third most lucrative illicit business in the world after arms and drug trafficking. “Trafficking is a hidden crime,’’ said Mr Naughten.

“Its victims cannot, or dare not, make themselves known to the authorities for fear of retaliation or because they are illegal immigrants.’’ He said that many trafficked adults were deceived about the type of work they would be doing and might be charged exorbitant fees by agencies for arranging work.

When they arrived, they were tricked or intimidated into surrendering their travel documents and either forced into prostitution or subjected to forced labour, he added.

The types of legitimate work that women thought they were being recruited to do included jobs in the restaurant trade, domestic work, child-minding or accountancy, said Mr Naughten.

“Some women know they may have to work as prostitutes for a while, but they have no idea of the violence and degradation to which they will be subjected.’’

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said the Government had taken a very firm stand against trafficking in human beings by putting in place a wide range of legislative and administrative measures in terms of prevention, protection and prosecution.

A dedicated anti-human trafficking unit was established by the department in February 2008, prior to the enactment of legislation providing for penalties of up to life imprisonment.

The unit, said Mr Ahern, worked closely with more than 50 governmental, non-governmental, international and other organisations nationally and internationally to co-ordinate a comprehensive, holistic and “whole of Government’’ response to human trafficking. The Government defeated the Fine Gael motion by 71 votes to 67.

source: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1119/1224259107906.html

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