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Many brothels run by foreign organised crime gangs, committee hears

A Garda Superintendent told the hearings on prostitution that there has been a “notable change” in the industry in recent years.

File photo
File photo
Image: Prostitution photo via Shutterstock

AN OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE has been told that many brothels in Ireland are being run by organised crime gangs from other countries.

Garda Superintendent Fergus Healy told the Justice Committee hearings on prostitution that there has been a “notable change” in prostitution in the past three years with a major increase in the number of foreign nationals involved.

Superintendent Healy said that many of the individuals involved are in gangs either in Ireland or in their country of origin. He also noted that a lot of the money being made from brothels is being used to support these crime gangs.

The Justice Committee has been hearing submissions on whether Ireland’s laws on prostitution should be changed.

The editor of RTE’s Investigation Unit Paul Maguire, who was behind a major Prime Time investigation into Ireland’s prostitution industry last year, gave anecdotal evidence of the huge demand for the services of prostitutes.

He noted that many of the women Prime Time spoke to saw 6 clients “on a slow day” and between twelve and fifteen “on a busy day”.

He noted that an ad posted by the Prime Time team advertising services received around 70 calls a day from men looking for sex.

In response to a question from a committee member about whether there was a particular type of person who goes to a prostitute, Superintendent Healy said it was people of “all types, all backgrounds”.

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He also told the committee that some women have left prostitution through support from agencies such as Ruhama and the Gardaí, but said that in general it was “quite difficult for people to leave the industry once they get into it”.

Superintendent Healy told the meeting that there was no evidence to indicate that minors were working as prostitutes, although he noted that women can sometimes advertise themselves as being underage.

Read: Former ‘Belle de Jour’ concerned about Irish sex workers legislation >

Rad: Former sex workers to speak to Justice committee on prostitution laws >

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