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Most victims of sex trafficking are African, says support group

Ruhama’s annual report shows that the majority of women they help who were trafficked into Ireland and forced into the sex trade are African.

Image: Kyz via Flickr

MORE THAN HALF of sex trafficking victims who sought help in Ireland last year were from Nigeria, a support group has said in its annual report.

According to Ruhama, a non-government organisation which supports women affected by prostitution, 204 women involved in the sex trade looked for help in 2010.

Of the 140 women involved in case work with the group, 80 were trafficked into Ireland from other countries and forced into the sex trade. The overwhelming majority of those trafficked into the country were from Africa, with 49 coming from Nigeria.

The group also provided assistance to women from Asia and Eastern Europe.

Ruhama said it dealt with 26 new victims of sex trafficking last year and 13 of these came from Nigeria. After arriving in Ireland, the women were located in different regions, including Dublin, Louth, Cork, Limerick, Sligo and Longford.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Ruhama, said the figures exemplify the global nature of prostitution and trafficking.

On any day up to 1000 women and girls are available for purchase for sex in apartments, hotels, on the streets and in private clubs and massage parlours across the country.

She also explained that prostitution now has a presence in even the smallest rural communities.

It is happening in small communities in apartments, over shops and pubs – hidden in plain sight.

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In its report, the support group also outlined the changed nature of the sex trade and how technology is facilitating its spread to such rural communities.

Those involved in buying and selling sex are increasingly reliant on mobile phone and Internet technologies.

Women are moved quickly and sometimes frequently and the criminals involved remain at arms length hiding behind a computer screen, says the report.

“The degree of control over women is not reduced however, simply more high tech with information on their movements, numbers of buyers, the amount of cash changing hands immediately available to pimps and traffickers even if they are not on site with women,” added Ruhama.

Read: Prostitution on the rise in Ireland >

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