Video reveals how sex buyers view women trafficked into Ireland

More than 80% of callers requested details on sex services despite pleas for help

Ruhama the organisation that supports women affected by prostitution and/or sex trafficking have launched a new awareness raising campaign which reveals the cold reality of sex buyers’ attitudes to the women they pay for sex in Ireland.

 

The shocking results of a campaign which aimed to find out what sex buyers really think about woman being trafficked into Ireland have been revealed through a video posted online this week.

Posters of a woman’s silhouette posing seductively on a red background above a phone number were recently posted across Dublin by the Ruhama charity in a bid to raise awareness of women who are forced into working in the sex industry.

Those who called the number on the poster were greeted with a voice message from a young woman with an Eastern European accent who promised a fun and “sensual” time. The woman, known as Andreea, then explains to the caller that she has been trafficked into Ireland. She says a man brought her to Ireland with the promise of work looking after children.

“He is a liar,” she says. “He forces me to see men like this every day. Some people say this is ‘the game’ but it’s not a game. This is my life. And I hate it. I don’t want to be here anymore but I don’t know what to do. And I’m not the only girl this is happening to.”

The message ends by the woman asking for advice and help.

More than 1,000 people contacted Andreea over 20 days but very few voiced concern about her situation, says Ruhama who ran the campaign and works with women affected by prostitution.

More than 80 per cent of calls, voicemails and text messages enquired what sexual services Andreea could provide, while a quarter asked about the price of these services. In the video, published online this week, listeners can hear the voices of buyers who called the phone number in the hopes of meeting Andreea.

Many of these callers do not acknowledge the woman’s reference to being trafficked. Others say they will help by making the woman “happy”. Callers’ most popular requests of Andreea included explicit photos, threesomes, anal sex, various sex acts specifically without a condom and sex chats.

Since March 2017 it is illegal to pay for sex in Ireland under the Criminal Law (sexual offences) Act, 2017.

Sarah Benson, head of Ruhama, says the language used by callers confirms the “dehumanising nature of prostitution” and that the campaign is the perfect way to raise awareness around the exploitation and abuse that women and girls experience in Ireland’s sex trade.

“They displayed a completely callous disregard for a victim of Ireland’s vicious sex trade. These buyers were only concerned with their own sexual gratification and getting the kind of sex acts they wanted, and did not seem to care that this was at the expense of a vulnerable woman in a clearly difficult situation.

“The attitudes of sex buyers revealed by the Andreea campaign make us even more convinced of the need for this legislation – to deter those who prey on the vulnerable and put their own needs above all else, and to stop them further fuelling the growth of this harmful trade.

“If we really want equality for women and girls then we must fight against the proliferation of the sex trade and the culture of male sexual entitlement it is predicated upon,” Ms Benson added.

Ruhama urges anyone who finds themselves in a difficult situation in Ireland’s sex trade, or who is concerned about someone they know, to get in touch by calling (01) 8360292 or by texting the word REACH for free to 50100