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Kate McGrew of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI).
Kate McGrew of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI).
Image: Photocall Ireland

Sex workers' support group praises 20 year sentence for rapist as it thanks victims for coming forward

Gheorghe Goidan was sentenced to 20 years today.
Jul 31st 2019, 10:00 PM 33,772 23

THE DIRECTOR OF Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) today praised the bravery of two women who came forward and went to gardaí after being raped while working.

Kate McGrew, who is head of SWAI and is also a current sex worker, said the organisation was satisfied to hear the news that a rapist was handed a 20-year prison sentence today.

This man targeted migrant sex workers in the wake of the change in the law around sex work in 2017. 

Gheorghe Goidan (46), a Romanian national, preyed upon the vulnerability of the two women and had clearly targeted them because he thought they would not be believed, Ms Justice Tara Burns said today

Goidan contacted the women via the “escortsireland.ie” website and met them separately in hotel rooms. He then pulled a knife on them and threatened them before repeatedly assaulting and raping them.

SWAI was the initial contact by the sex workers involved in this case. McGrew said SWAI helped the workers to report the rapist to gardaí and supported them throughout the trial.

“It is very difficult for victims of rape to get justice through the criminal justice system and have their rapist convicted. It is even more so for sex workers, who are often reluctant to go to the police to report sexual violence. Sex workers fear they will not be taken seriously because of their job.”

Since the introduction of client criminalisation in 2017, less than 1% of sex workers report crime to the Gardaí according to Ugly Mugs, a safety screening app for sex workers to report dangerous clients.

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SWAI said that today’s conviction was a success. However, the group claimed that in the last two years of client criminalisation, there has been a 98% increase in violent crimes against sex workers.

McGrew added: “We want to thank the women for coming forward despite a climate that does not encourage them to do so. The streets are safer thanks to these sex worker’s bravery. As always we are here for any sex worker who needs us, regardless of circumstance. Please call us on 085 824 9305.”

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Garreth MacNamee

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