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mob on the job UCD report lays bare the brutal reality of Ireland’s sex trade run by gangsters

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Christmas Day won’t be a day off for prostitutes as punters continue to ignore physical distancing rules

Christmas Day won’t be a day off for prostitutes as punters continue to ignore physical distancing rules

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Christmas Day won’t be a day off for prostitutes as punters continue to ignore physical distancing rules

VIOLENT gangsters dominate Ireland’s illegal vice trade where foreign women are still exploited for cash despite the coronavirus lockdowns this year.

And Christmas Day won’t be a day off for prostitutes as punters continue to ignore physical distancing rules aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19.

Research into the seedy trade by academics at University College Dublin (UCD) this year highlighted the sinister involvement of pimps and criminal gangs.

It also pointed out how a website originally run by convicted pimp Peter McCormick is raking in huge profits off the backs of exploited prostitutes even though it is illegal in Ireland to advertise prostitution.

“The indoor sex trade in Ireland is highly organised with substantial profits accruing to organisers and advertisers, not least Escort Ireland,” it was stated.

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Convicted pimp Peter McCormick is raking in huge profits

Convicted pimp Peter McCormick is raking in huge profits

Convicted pimp Peter McCormick is raking in huge profits

The website is now controlled by Lazarus Trading registered in Spain and as a result is not subject to Irish law.

The report by Sexual Exploitation Research Programme at UCD laid bare the brutal reality of Ireland’s sex trade.

“Indeed, for some of the organised crime gangs involved in the sex trade in Ireland, prostitution is just one of the ‘businesses’ they are profiting from, as revealed by a series of recent CAB raids and other Garda operations during 2020.”

“Reports on these raids demonstrate that some of the same gangs responsible for running the sex trade are also heavily involved in burglaries, robbery, blackmail, fuel and cigarette smuggling, credit card cloning, the supply of illegal drugs, money laundering, fraud and cybercrime,” it added.

It said traffickers are clearly involved when for instance an 18-year Romanian woman with no English ends up travelling between locations such as Cork and Belfast.

“There is also evidence of different networks operating chains of supply, some embedded within the sex trade in Ireland and others grooming and recruiting women and girls in their origin countries and bringing them here,” it stated.

In one case a social service worker told how one to young woman whose young age was being deliberately highlighted in adverts to attract punters.

“The Gardaí took a young girl out of a brothel and brought her here. They showed me the pictures on Escort Ireland. She was wearing like knickers with flowers on them and like a trainer bra…she was really skinny and really small,” said the worker.

“She was 18 and 3 months when they went in…she had ID… but the ad was very much to look like a kid. And the language… you know the way they have the coded language…‘new in town’… ‘fresh’...to imply she was very young,” they added.

In a second report this month the UCD researchers showed how the level of adverts online have returned to normal levels after a drop of 50 per cent during the first lockdown.

It said that women from Latin America, many apparently stuck in Ireland because of Covid-19 restrictions, accounted for the majority of those profiled on escort sites.

“We see increased risk and actual reports of violence by partner, by pimps and by buyers. Pressure is now on for money and it pushes women into making poor decisions, so safety is a real issue and always a risk,” according to the HSE’s Women’s Health Service.

“Women are feeling very isolated and want to talk,” it added,

Recommendations include allowing immediate funding for the Women’s Health Service to re-open safely.

It also said action is required to effectively tackle Ireland’s online prostitution advertisers who are circumventing the law.

“The ‘escort’ websites gave a façade of protecting health, yet were offering incentives to encourage the trade to resume,” said the report’s author.

“At the same time vulnerable migrant women had little prospect of exiting the trade - even at the height of lockdown they accounted for over 90 per cent of profiles.”

The research comes as recent legislation making it illegal to pay for a prostitute is due for review in 2021.

Escort Ireland regularly tries to push arguments for changing vice laws to make it easier for prostitution to work in Ireland.

It has also provided “anonymised” information from prostitution to other researchers in a bid to support claims that recent laws making it illegal to buy sex have made matters worse.

The Sunday World previously revealed how the Ugly Mugs website and the Stop the Blue Light campaign, which claim to protect prostitutes, were linked to the same entities behind Escort Ireland.

The website could also face a new threat after credit card companies bowed to pressure and threatened to withdraw services from Pornhub.

As a result the porn website dumped a majority of its content from unverified users after years of dodging complaints that clips in included child abuse, revenge porn and rape.

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