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Seven per cent increase in women affected by prostitution seeking support

Ruhama, which supports women affected by sex trafficking and prostitution, helped 258 people last year — providing services to women from 32 different nationalities.

Image: woman on edge of building via Shutterstock

THE RUHAMA AGENCY provided support services to a record number of women affected by sex trafficking and prostitution last year. 258 people accessed its service’s last year, according to the NGO‘s 2012 annual report — an increase by 17 on the previous year.

The report, launched this morning, highlights the globalised nature of the Irish sex trade: women from 32 different nationalities accessed the organisation’s services.

In total, 908 face-to-face meetings were conducted with 170 women. Ruhama’s outreach van, which engages with women in street prostitution, went out on 108 nights for over 413 hours and engaged with 62 women exclusively on the streets.

The agency also gave assistance to a further 26 women who did not engage in full casework.

88 women accessed Ruhama’s Education and Development services — an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year.

According to CEO Sarah Benson: “Ruhama continues to work with significant numbers of Irish women, but the majority of those in the indoor sex trade are migrant women and this is reflected in this report, by the fact that Ruhama worked with women from 32 different nationalities.”

“This small island remains a destination for traffickers, pimps and procurers from all corners of the globe. The bulk of the prostitution in Ireland is connected with organised criminality.

“For the women and girls we work with – far from home, isolated and often highly controlled or literally coerced through trafficking, it is a dangerous and damaging experience. It is also beyond doubt that prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation are inextricably linked.”

Read: Pilot scheme trains airline and airport crew to better spot human trafficking

Read: Laws against sex buyers need to be introduced now, says Immigrant Council

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