Sex trade spikes in Louth after NI sex buyer laws comes into force
2015-07-01 13:47:14 -
Human Rights

Dundalk and Drogheda are on the frontline of an 88 per cent jump in online prostitution along the M1 motorway following the introduction of sex buyer laws in Northern Ireland last month, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.


Campaigners fear that pimps are focusing on the M1 to attract sex buyers over the border, with the ICI reporting that the number of online escorts listing Co Louth on their profiles had risen from 18 on 1 May to 34 in mid June.


“Northern Ireland’s decision to target the buyers of sex appears to be having an early impact with strong indications that the sex ‘trade’ is moving south,” said Denise Charlton, anti-trafficking consultant with the ICI. “This is most apparent along the M1, the main road from Belfast to Dublin.”


Dundalk, the first town south of the border, had 24 women profiled on escort websites this week, more than the entire county in May. It is in marked contrast to the city of Newry just 22km north, where only two women are available online, or similarly in the city of Armagh where there is one.


“It is clear those who run prostitution in the North are feeling the heat and are looking for a new patch, unfortunately it appears they are finding that haven in our communities,” said Charlton.


Immigrant Council of Ireland chief executive Brian Killoran added that “international experience has shown us that when one country introduces laws targeting demand for prostitution and sex trafficking, the pimps and traffickers will move to neighbouring jurisdictions.


“We cannot allow this to happen here and it is important that the South now moves to ensure an all-island approach to shut down this crime.”


Killoran said the ICI welcomes “the continued commitment of Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to introduce similar laws here and are asking her to publish the Government’s proposals and ensure their swift passage through the Oireachtas.”

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