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People urged to call Irish mobile number to hear the reality of sex trafficking here

Ruhama is urging people to call the number and hear what ‘Andreea’ has to say.

andreea The advertising being placed around Dublin city. Source: Ruhama

ANTI-PROSTITUTION ACTIVIST group Ruhama is part of a campaign which is to highlight how women who are trafficked into Ireland for sex are treated.

The #WhereIsAndreea campaign will see dozens of posters which feature a silhouette of a woman and a phone number placed across Dublin city centre.

Ruhama is urging people to call the number and hear what Andreea has to say.

Callers are greeted by the voice of a young woman with an Eastern European accent, who promises you a “fun, sensual time”. But her story takes a turn when it is revealed that Andreea has in fact been forced into Ireland’s sex trade.

She tells callers that she came to Ireland having been told she would be working with children. Andreea also describes how her traffickers force her to smile and not to reveal to customers that she is being taken advantage of.

The initiative is part of a Europe wide campaign called Penny For Your Thoughts which is a “multi-city awareness raising initiative is designed to highlight the plight of victims of sex trafficking across Europe”, according to Ruhama.

Their CEO Sarah Benson said the initiative is not just about making sex buyers “think twice about their actions”.

She said: “It aims to enhance awareness and understanding amongst the general public of the realities of sex trafficking and the fact that victims are usually required to put up a positive facade, and so may not be easy to spot.

“We urge anyone who finds themselves in a difficult situation in Ireland’s sex trade, or who is concerned about someone they know, to contact Ruhama for support on (01) 836 0292.”

Earlier this year, new laws designed to protect prostitutes by criminalising the buyers of sex came into force.

Fears

Turn Off The Red Light, an umbrella group of charities and groups against the selling of sex, described the commencement of the laws as “an historic day” which they believe will help “vulnerable women, children and men in prostitution access support”.

Spokeswoman for Turn Off The Red Light, Denise Charlton, said today is important because, for the first time, those involved in prostitution will no longer be criminalised by the law but instead protected by it.

“From today, the Irish State is finally telling those sexually exploited through prostitution: ‘You are not to blame. You are not at fault. You are the victim here and we will protect you.’ From today, the law will instead focus on the pimps and traffickers who currently profit to the tune of €250 million from the sex trade,” she added.

However, there are those who have been vehemently opposed to the bill. The Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland (SWAI) had said that the laws will not stop prostitution but will instead force women to operate in a more clandestine way, thus increasing the likelihood of women being abused.

According to the group, their biggest concern is the safety of sex workers, particularly the most vulnerable.

They said that laws which criminalise the purchase of sex “do not magically create options for the migrants, trans people, single parents and others who turn to sex work in order to survive”.

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