FROM THE AGE of just 15, Rachel Moran worked as a sex worker in Dublin.
It took her years to leave the industry – but now that she has, she campaigns against the legalisation of prostitution, talking openly about her experiences.
In an interview earlier this week, the told TheJournal.ie about some of what she saw when working on the streets of Dublin.
The youngest girl I ever came across was 13 and I remember thinking to myself that day that I should go down to the police station and report it.
“She was only ever there for one day…her own mother brought her down.
“Her mother was standing beside her and I got the impression that her mother had the mental age of a much, much, younger person than she was. My suspicion today is that that girl was in care on a day out with her mother because I never saw her again or since.
“I think it’s profoundly sad because I was 15 at the time and there I was at 15 thinking this is a disgrace this girl is only 13 and I should be going to the police.
But that’s the kind of thing you see in prostitution, that’s the level of the depravity and I can tell you for the one day she was there she was very very busy. She was in an out of at least half a dozen cars that I saw.
“She was only a kid, she was blatantly a very young child. She had a little bit of puppy fat on her, an innocent face, she wasn’t remotely the type of young girl who might pass for a few years older than she was.
“She seemed very benumbed, very disconnected, the way we all were.”
‘Boys aged 12 buying sex in Holland’
A survey released this week shows that almost one in ten men in Ireland have paid for sex.
The Reach Project is urging men and boys “to take a stand” against prostitution and sex-trafficking as part of a new nationwide campaign.
Speaking at the launch this week, Moran said, ”The statistics show that the majority of men who buy sex do know women are exploited.
I never came across a woman who walked out from a well paying job and into a brothel – it just doesn’t happen.
She also pointed out that legalising prostitution makes things worse for both men and women:
“Young men in countries like Holland and Germany feel pressure to buy sex as if it were something that any young man were expected to do.
Speaking about interviews carried out with men who buy sex in Holland, Moran said:
They interviewed a man who was 21 years of age and he begun buying sex when he was 12.
“If you look at this situation it is so sick on every level- what we’re talking about here is actual child abuse. He’s a 12-year-old boy, you’ve got exploitation running in both directions.
“He said there was nothing unusual with very young boys in Holland buying their first sexual experience.”
Moran believes this is because ‘it has been legalised since forever, it’s normalised to such an extent that you may as well be buying a cup of coffee or an ice-cream cone’.
Critics have argued with Moran’s approach saying that legalising prostitution would give sex workers rights.
However, she said that while a lot of people who want to see the legalisation of prostitution have good intentions, she disagrees:
The reality is it makes an absolute open brothel of a country.