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Dublin: 10 °C Monday 20 May, 2019
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Investigation details systematic movement of prostitutes around Ireland's towns

The RTE Investigations Unit estimates that there are up to 20 gangs involved in organised prostitution here today.

pros1 Alexandra, a 19-year-old woman from Romania, who was forced into the sex trade in Sligo Source: RTE Investigations Unit

A NEW INVESTIGATION by the RTE Investigations Unit into the business behind prostitution in Ireland has found that up to 20 gangs are systematically transporting sex workers around Ireland’s towns.

The programme, entitled Sex for Sale and broadcast this evening, found that every week women are swapped between cars on North King Street in Dublin and driven off to new brothels.

The brothels themselves are to be found countrywide, in the likes of Tallaght, Navan, Drogheda, Ardee, and Cavan town.

The investigation found that the prices being charged in the sex trade in Ireland have fallen significantly in recent times. Almost one third of women advertising across Ireland charge as little as €50 for 30 minutes.

There has also been an increase in high risk practices during the sale of sex, with one in five clients asking a profile set up by the investigations unit to have sex without a condom.

domin Source: RTE Investigations Unit

There are roughly 700 escort profiles advertised in Ireland at any one time. Over 98% of those workers are foreign nationals.

A sex trafficking victim, Alexandra from Romania (19), spoke of how she was duped into travelling to Dublin for a job. She was taken from Dublin Airport to a hotel in Sligo where she was held against her will and told that she would have to work as a prostitute to pay off the cost of her travel.

The programme named Letterkenny, Donegal as being a place where prostitution is in high demand.

In 2014 gardaí carried out a number of raids at apartment blocks in the town which saw five women charged for working in a brothel. The women were deported to Romania.

In 2015, at least two of the five women were back working in Letterkenny.

One of the women was to be found working just doors away from the site of her initial arrest the year before.

A 24-hour surveillance of a specific brothel on Dominic Street in Dublin found that 14 different men visited the building for sex during that period.

In September, an alliance representing sex workers in Ireland criticised the imminent criminalisation of paying for sex in Ireland, claiming that the new law will do the opposite of protecting women.

Read: First man arrested under new prostitution laws in the North

Read: Sex workers hit out at new bill criminalising prostitution clients

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