TWENTY ONE women were for sale on escort sites that explicitly offer sex at locations in Co Mayo at lunchtime yesterday. Eleven of the young women claimed they were in Castlebar, seven in Ballina, two in Claremorris and one in a non-specified part of the county.
This number means that Mayo had a higher than average number of ‘women for sale’ according to a cross-county survey by the Immigrant Council of Ireland yesterday. It has called on TDs and senators to expedite a review of Irish laws on prostitution, as hearings by an Oireachtas Committee on Justice into the insidious social problem come to an end.
The ICA, Macra na Feirme, Chambers Ireland and many trade unions have supported the Immigrant Council’s call.
Speaking yesterday to The Mayo News, Ms Ruth McNeely, Director of Mayo Rape Crisis Centre, said she was not surprised by the numbers.
“We abhor such exploitation of young women and urge our political leaders to urgently review the laws on prostitution,” Ms McNeely said
In a statement yesterday, Ms Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said that after all the years of campaigning and many months of Dáil hearings, the stark truth was now clear.
“Irish and foreign criminal gangs are using prostitution as a low-risk, high-profit crime to line their pockets in Mayo and across the country. Thousands of people, including emergency workers, medical staff, farmers, business people and many more from Mayo have supported us not just through their representative bodies but as individuals by supporting our email campaign to local TDs,” Ms Charlton said.
She said that gardaí have confirmed that around 800 women are placed for sale on the net in Ireland every day.
Furthermore, she confirmed that while the Oireachtas debate proceeded, 29 children had been sex-trafficked into Ireland.
Ms Charlton urged people to support the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign, already formally supported by 65 organisations around the country. This campaign aims to strengthen the laws against sex buyers, prostitution and organised crime thus protecting many vulnerable women.
ESCORTS offering services in Mayo last night were charging €80 for 30 minutes to €160 for the first hour. There were several girls who said they were Spanish, as well as a Cuban and Indian woman, all aged from their early 20s to their mid-30s. They offered a broad range of sexual services.
FOUR years ago The Mayo News exclusively revealed how gardaí in Westport had broken up a prostitution operation in the town, following a raid at Westport Quay. Two Spanish women subsequently appeared in court, with one charged with operating a brothel and the other with aiding in the operation of a brothel.
The arrests followed a sophisticated surveillance operation implemented by Westport gardaí, which uncovered an operation that was believed to have been run through an escort website.