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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019
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Concerns growing about the number of underage boys being abused in Dublin brothels

A number of suspected brothels have been raided by gardaí in the last year.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

SINCE GARDAÍ RAIDED a suspected brothel in Dublin in March this year, concerns have been raised with them about the possibility of a number of underage boys being abused elsewhere in the city. 

It is now understood that complaints were made to gardaí about teenagers as young as 16 being exploited in a number of areas of north Dublin. Some of the information gathered by gardaí has come from adult escorts working elsewhere, and independently, in the capital. 

Many of the all-male brothels thought to be involved are located near the IFSC and Parnell Street. They use online advertisements and sales websites, as well as one well-known escort website, to promote their services. 

Information was passed on to An Garda Síochána based in Kilmainham in relation to the existence of the brothels following a raid of a different premises seven months ago. 

A quantity of cocaine was seized at this building in the north of the city.

Most of the adult male escorts working in Ireland currently are Brazilian but there is a growing number of young Irish men, both adult and underage, in prostitution. 

Ruhama – an advocacy group which supports people as they exit prostitution – said it is aware of a number of male brothels in operation in Ireland and confirmed that it had helped young Irish minors escape.  

The organisation has confirmed that the name of the alleged ringleader has come to their attention but would not comment on specific queries. 

Sarah Benson, Ruhama’s CEO, told TheJournal.ie: “Ruhama is primarily a women’s support service given the highly gendered nature of the sex trade. 

However, we do engage with a small number of men each year, and have encountered men who have been exploited as minors. The sex trade is a dangerous and precarious environment for anyone regardless of gender or age.

“We are aware of small numbers of men in prostitution at present in Ireland and they often come from the similarly marginalised backgrounds to the hundreds of women we meet each year. Their support needs can be significant and we will always do what we can to assist them.

“In all instances where minors are prostituted this is child sexual exploitation and should be treated as such by the authorities – there is no such thing as a ‘child prostitute’.”

A factor in the increasing presence of all-male brothels it the growing chemsex phenomenon in Dublin.

According to one male escort, JP*, whoTheJournal.ie spoke to this week, many of the brothels are used for chemsex.

Chemsex is the use of drugs such as G, crystal methamphetamine, ketamine and mephedrone to enhance sexual activity. The practice is usually associated with men who have sex with men (MSM), often involves multiple people and can lead to sexual encounters that last for hours or days.

GHB is a synthetic drug used as an anaesthetic. It comes in a clear liquid or powder form and its potency varies. GBL is sold as a substitute for GHB. It’s found in cleaning solvents and converts to GHB when you swallow it.

JP explained that short-term lets are being used to facilitate independent operations, like his. He counts it as lucky if there is an apartment to lease closer to the main entrance door – this means that their clients can enter and exit without drawing too much attention. 

However, larger brothels move to new locations more frequently due to the increased volume of people using them.

New laws which took effect last year criminalised the purchase of sex in Ireland and many workers have said this has resulted in them working on their own, depriving them of security previously available to them.

Those opposed to the legislation, including the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI), said that it would make the job of the worker a lot more dangerous and that the demand for sex would not be reduced as a result. 

*TheJournal.ie knows the identity of the man, but has changed his name for the purposes of this article. 

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