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36 people questioned by gardaí as part of weekend operation targeting the buying of sex

Gardaí said they carried out operations in six divisions last weekend.

Image: File photo.Yui Mok/PA Wire

A TOTAL OF 36 people were stopped and questioned by gardaí as part of an intelligence-led operation targeting the demand for prostitution and the purchasing of sexual services over the past few days.

Gardaí said they carried out operations in six divisions last weekend, from Friday to Sunday, aimed at enforcing the provisions of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017.

The recently introduced act criminalises the purchase of sexual services and the soliciting or purchasing of sex from a trafficked person. They came into effect early in 2017.

The Act prosecutes a person who “pays, gives, offers or promises to pay or give a person (including a prostitute) money” or any other kind of remuneration to engage in sexual activity. Advertising sex work has been prohibited since 1994. 

The new laws gained support from a number of advocacy groups, but were criticised by others – like the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) – who claimed that they made life more dangerous for sex workers. 

According to court reports, the first person to be convicted under the act was in January. He was fined €200. 

Gardaí said that it carried out operations in DMR North, DMR East, DMR South Central, Wexford, Louth and Kildare. 

A total of 36 individuals were stopped and spoken to by gardaí over suspicion of having purchased sexual services from an individual involved in prostitution.

A number of files are now being prepared for forwarding to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP will then decide if any criminal proceedings should be initiated. 

Gardaí said that the operation reinforces their “commitment to target the demand for prostitution and to protect vulnerable persons, including victims of human trafficking involved in prostitution”.

With reporting from Aoife Walsh

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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