Tag Archives: Sex workers

Chief Superintendent Declan Daly

Last night.

An Garda Síochána issued an alert to sex workers after they announced they were investigating seven attacks on sex workers since mid-October.

They also appealed for any sex workers who have been attacked to come forward without fear.

The Irish Times reported:

Investigators are working closely with the injured parties involved and treating the victims with “the utmost sensitivity and confidentiality”.

Detectives attached to Operation Quest – which focuses on securing convictions against individuals involved in organising prostitution – at the Garda National Protective Services Bureau are liaising with local units.

They have issued an appeal to others who may have been subject to a similar attack to immediately report the incident.

Further to this..

Chief Superintendent Declan Daly spoke to Bryan Dobson on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Bryan Dobson: “So to be absolutely clear here. A sex worker, who is assaulted, comes forward to the gardaí and speaks to you will not face prosecution? That simply doesn’t arise?”

Declan Daly: “Absolutely. That’s not even a consideration. The consideration is the welfare and the harm  and the danger that they’re in at the moment.”

Dobson: “Do you have advice for sex workers, given that your suspicion presumably is that these attacks are ongoing and are organised and systematic.”

Daly: “Yeah I think they need to be very vigilant at the moment. Particularly when, if they’re taking online clients because that’s the medium through which these attacks are starting. So I think they need to be very vigilant in relation to that and obviously if they are concerned about a client, well obviously they just vacate the appointment or cancel the appointment.”

Dobson: “And are there precautions they can take?”

Daly: “Well, it’s very difficult because I suppose the nature of the work is that, is difficult, is that it’s people that they don’t know and I suppose, I mean they can simply, at the moment, and we’re working very diligently and quickly to resolve this issue.

So they could, if they were of a mind to, forgo online appointments and maybe deal with people whom they know from previous encounters.”

Dobson: “Clearly, they’re very vulnerable, they’re very isolated and very exposed to this kind of attack.”

Daly: “Yeah, correct. I mean working in the prostitution industry are a lot of vulnerable people. There’s a high element of exploitation in that industry so we’re very concerned for the safety and welfare of these people.”

Gardaí investigate attacks ‘on sex workers primarily in the Dublin area’ (Mark Hilliard, The Irish Times)

Listen back to Morning Ireland item in full here

Previously: Mass Surveillance On Sex Workers?

Director of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI) Kate McGrew (middle) at a sex workers conference in Stockhom, Sweden this afternoon

This afternoon.

In Stockholm, Sweden.

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSWE) is hosting a conference to mark the 20th anniversary of the Swedish Model.

Irish solicitor Wendy Lyon is live-tweeting from the conference, entitled Sex Work, Human Rights And Health: Assessing 20 Years Of Swedish Model, including a contribution from the director of the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland Kate McGrew.

From her tweetz:

Earlier, Wendy tweeted the contribution from Adeline Berry

Follow Wendy here


Yesterday, in Stockholm…

Ms McGrew addressed a crowd gathered for the first ever sex worker rights protest in Stockholm, during which they called for an end to the Swedish Model.

Related: No council for (some) women: the NWCI and the silencing of sex workers (Wendy Lyon, Feminist Ire)

Previously: Let’s Talk About Sex Work


From top: Garda Commissioner Drew Harris; Brothel Keepers; a campaign seeking safety over enforcement in the policing of sex workers.

Lucy Smyth, writes:

We (a collective of sex workers and allies) are beginning a new campaign today, calling on the Garda Commissioner to immediately adopt policing policy which prioritises the safety of people in sex work over enforcement.

We have produced a website detailing official statistics on brothel keeping and with an analysis of 82 cases (involving 165 individuals) of sex workers convicted of brothel keeping over the last decade.

We would like to especially draw attention to the summary key findings in our Analysis section here.

As of today we are collecting signatures for a formal group letter to the Commissioner.

We have written to the Commissioner today to advise him that we are beginning this campaign.

Kind regards.

Lucy Smyth, of UglyMugs.ie (a member of the Brothel Keepers collective).

Brothel Keepers


The Turn Off The Red Light campaign in 2012 calling for criminalising the purchase of sex

Last Friday, the Leinster Leader newspaper reported that two female sex workers, one of whom is pregnant, had been jailed for nine months by Judge Desmond Zaidan at Naas District Court the previous day.

They had been charged with keeping or running a brothel – an offence under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, 1993 which was maintained when the Act was amended in 2017, despite the then Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald being called on by several politicians to remove it.

The newspaper reported that the court heard gardai raided the Newbridge apartment in which the women lived last November after it had been under surveillance for “some time”.

In a previous court appearance, the court heard the raid was part of An Garda Siochána’s Operation Quest.

There were no clients at the property when the house was raided.

The newspaper reported:

No significant money was found at the scene either.

Was business that bad?” Judge Desmond Zaidan asked.

“It was early in the night,” Sgt Jacob told the court.

…Their solicitor told the court that the women hope to return to their native Romania once the trial is concluded and to avoid bringing any embarrassment to their families. And gardai were satisfied that this was the case.

Their solicitor said that the women had a sum of money available that could be paid to a charity.

But Judge Desmond Zaidan was not inclined to give them this opportunity. “They weren’t forced into this position.”

The newspaper reported that the woman who is pregnant has lodged an appeal and has been released on bail.

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 was put forward to reform Ireland’s laws regarding prostitution and it was signed into law in 2017.

In relation to the law on brothel keeping, a debate in the Dáil in November 2016 heard Green Party TD Catherine Martin say:

“What the Government is proposing is to criminalise the buyer and remove one of the criminal sanctions against solicitation but also to create a new solicitation crime and leave brothel keeping as a criminal act. The Nordic approach has received a significant level of criticism, particularly when It comes to the health and the safety of sex workers.

“Significant questions remain about the Nordic model. The Green Party’s key concern with it is that a sufficient evaluation has not been carried out upfront to show whether the changes brought in had any impact on the health and well being of sex workers. Stories are emerging of sex workers driven further underground and, therefore, out of safety in order to protect the identities of their clients. The latter means that they place themselves at even greater risk.

“The UK is currently revisiting its approach. The select Home Affairs Committee has said that the Home Office should immediately introduce legislation to allow for solicitation by sex workers and to change brothel-keeping laws to allow workers share premises so that they are safer.”

Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall said:

When two or more prostitutes choose to work from the same location for safety, they should not be prosecuted for brothel keeping unless there is clear evidence that one is profiting from the work of others.

“As the law still stands, if two prostitutes work together, they can be accused of brothel-keeping. Are we going to force a situation where women working in the sex trade will be forced to work alone in order to get around this issue and to avoid prosecution under this legislation, obviously putting themselves at further risk? There are significant issues here.”

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger said:

We will also table an amendment to exclude the criminalisation of two women working together in a brothel, not pimping, one not benefiting from the proceeds of the earnings of the other. Sex workers should not be subject to harassment and prosecution and it is utterly backward that the Tánaiste has not taken these amendments on board.”

Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly said:

“The work by the barrister, Michael Lynn, and commissioned by Sex Workers Alliance Ireland, SWAI, is an incredibly well-grounded, academic and research-based piece of work in this area. He evolved into a position of coming to the conclusion that the Bill would violate the human rights of sex workers.

“His key points on that were, first, the lack of assessment of the real impact of the Swedish model, the fact that the penalties against brothel keeping and so on are likely to contravene the human rights of sex workers, and he was very critical of the fact that there is no review in the legislation.”

In December 2016, Ms Fitzgerald told the Select Committee on Justice and Equality debate, when the 2015 Bill was at committee stage:

“The effect of the amendments, in reality, would be to decriminalise brothels in certain circumstances. I am concerned that decriminalisation of brothel-keeping would create a legal loophole that would be ripe for exploitation by the organised crime gangs involved in the trafficking and exploitation of women involved in prostitution.

“Women would come under pressure to claim that they were working independently when that was not the case and the Garda would be limited in the actions it could take to close brothels and disrupt the activities of pimps and criminal gangs.”

Further to this…

Solicitor Wendy Lyon has tweeted her thoughts…

Related: Brothel laws criminalising sex workers: a feature, not a bug (Wendy Lyon, Feminist Ire)

Previously: A ‘Mass Surveillance On Sex Workers’? (April 2019)

Stopping At Red (September 2012)

Turn Off The Red, Blue And White Light (November 2013)

“Prostitution Is Messy, It’s Regrettable But It’s A Fact Of Life” (November 2014)

Hoor We To Judge? (April 2017)


Part of a campaign by anti-prostitution activist group Ruhama to highlight how women who are trafficked into Ireland for sex are treated.

The #WhereIsAndreea campaign will see dozens of posters (as above) placed across Dublin city centre.

Ruhama is urging people to call the number above and “hear what Andreea has to say”.



Last night

RTE 2 reality star and former escort  Kate McGrew flanked by masked sex workers from the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland (SWAI) at a vigil to mark International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers outside Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin.

The SWAI is an alliance of sex workers, ex-sex workers and others alongside organisations involved in health and social support services.

They oppose laws criminalising the purchase of sex as only a “human rights approach based on harm reduction and decriminalisation” will protect sex workers and give them access to their rights.

Sex Workers Alliance

Previously: Sex workers in Ireland

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

BlbEL3_CMAEuuoh.jpg large


Alan writes:

“Why are the authorities arresting sex workers in this day and age?
Is the moral fabric of the nation at stake?
Genuine question.”


Previously: Turn Off The Red White And Blue Light

Stopping At Red



UglyMugs.ie is a scheme which aims to improve the safety of sex workers in Ireland and reduce crimes committed against them.

It was established in 2009 and, since then, Irish sex workers have reported 4,000 incidents of crime and abuse against them.

It has now carried out the first ever victimisation survey of indoor sex workers in Ireland. A total of 195 female, male and trans escorts, from 29 different countries, took part in the research, almost 75% of whom have completed third-level education.

From the study:


Reasons Read the full report here

Previously: Protecting Sex Workers


UglyUgly Mug schemes have been established in many parts of the world to warn sex workers about dangerous people and situations.

Now the Irish branch, UglyMugs.ie, has launched a new free Android app that automatically screens calls and texts to alert sex workers if they’re in contact with a number that has been identified as being belong to an individual who poses a risk to sex workers.

The folks at Ugly Mugs write:

“Sex workers are far more likely to be victims of violence and other crimes and abuse than non sex workers, and sex workers are also far less likely to report crime than non sex workers. While prostitutions is legal in Ireland, laws criminalising activities around prostitution means sex workers must work alone and in private in order to work legally.

“Isolated, partially criminalised, stigmatised, marginalised, and without access to support services, the vulnerability of sex workers in Ireland is obvious.

“Ugly Mug schemes allow sex workers to share information about dangers with each other. When a sex worker encounters a dangerous person, they can report the incident to the Ugly Mug scheme and a warning will be made available to all sex workers.”

“The advantage of Ugly Mugs for Android is that sex workers can install it once on their Android phone and from then on it will automatically check each number they have contact with against UglyMugs.ie and warn them if there is a match. It means sex workers don’t have to manually check numbers against the UglyMugs.ie database.”

The app is free and available to sex workers at safeiq.com or uglymugs.ie

Thanks Lucy