New garda unit set up to investigate organised crime linked to illegal sex trade

New unit will enforce legislation criminalising purchase of sexual services and police brothels,violent attacks

A new garda unit has been established to investigate organised crime linked to the illegal sex trade.

The Organised Prostitution Investigation Unit will police everything from the enforcement of legislation criminalising the purchase of sexual services, to brothels and violent attacks.

"A physical or sexual assault on a prostitute is a serious crime and an attack on a vulnerable person in the community," said Det Chief Supt Declan Daly.

The unit has been established within the Garda National Protective Services Bureau and was formerly known as Operation Quest. It falls under the Assistant Commissioner of Organised and Serious Crime based at Harcourt Square, Dublin.


"The establishment of this specialised unit reinforces An Garda Síochána's commitment to protecting vulnerable persons, including victims of human trafficking involved in prostitution in Ireland, " gardai said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This will be achieved by tackling crime gangs involved in organisation prostitution, by targeting the demand for prostitution and by safeguarding those persons trafficked for sexual exploitation.”

The unit has already been actively targeting organised prostitution and brothel keeping. As a result of its efforts, a 44-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman are currently before the courts charged with multiple offences in relation to organised prostitution, brothel keeping, money laundering and fraud related offences in the greater Dublin area.

It has also brought a number of people before the courts in relation to violent attacks on vulnerable people involved in the sex trade.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times