Sex workers from abroad are facing continued abuses says Ruhama report
2017-09-01 14:00:31 -
Immigration
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Nigeria, Brazil and Romania top the list of origin countries of women involved in sex work in Ireland last year, according to a new report from Ruhama, an Irish NGO that supports women in prostitution.

 

Of the 222 women supported by Ruhama in 2016, 47 came to Ireland from Nigeria, 28 from Brazil and 20 from Romania, according to the organisation’s latest annual report. 

 

Fifty-six women from Ireland also accessed Ruhama’s supports in 2016. The rest were from various countries in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

 

“Clearly civil, political and economic instabilities in women’s home countries leave many very vulnerable to exploitation, and the potential to be trafficked,” the reports states. “Those who accessed our casework service in 2016 included 92 women who are victims of sex trafficking, originating from 23 different nations.”

 

Ruhama says many of these women revealed “deeply harrowing” experiences including “rape, assault and many other forms of psychological, physical and sexual violence.”

 

The group also claims that the majority of the 222 women its casework service supported last year “had been sexually exploited in brothels, massage parlours, hotel rooms and apartments across the country.”

 

Announcing the report, Ruhama chief executive Sarah Benson said: “The bulk of prostitution in Ireland is run by organised crime gangs who profit from the sexual exploitation of women and girls, particularly in off-street locations.” 

 

Benson hailed the introduction earlier this year of the Sexual Offences Act 2018, which made illegal the purchase of sex and increased the penalties for organising prostitution – though argued that more must be done to ensure the new laws are enforced.

 

“The Sexual Offences Act 2017 also decriminalises those selling sex outdoors, something Ruhama has long campaigned for,” she added. “It was already permissible for individuals to sell sex indoors and so now there is a recognition enshrined in law that no one should be criminalised for their own exploitation in Ireland.”

 

Ruhama and campaigns such as Turn Off The Red Light have been criticised by sex workers who argue they are being discriminated against over their choice of work.



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