11 Irish counties in the spotlight as Gardaí crack down on sex trade
46 people have been identified as having allegedly purchased sexual services.
In a bid to protect those in the sex trade, the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) conducted a number of operations across 11 counties.
The GNPSB along with divisional Protective Services Units and local detectives worked across Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Longford, Galway, Dublin, Kildare, Donegal, Cavan and Louth.
46 people were identified as having allegedly purchased sexual services.
While the sale of sexual services is legal, the purchase of said services is still illegal in Ireland.
65 visits were carried out to eliminate the possibility of sexual exploitation, and five search warrants were executed to investigate the organisation of prostitution,
One man in the South East had €3,000 and $500 seized under suspicion of being involved in organised prostitution.
A number of files are now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions to determine if any criminal charges can be pursued.
An Garda Síochána has set up two dedicated phone numbers for those in the sex trade in Ireland to contact if they need to report a crime, seek advice or assurance as necessary.
"This ongoing work is all in an effort to strengthen our link with those involved in the sex trade in order to increase trust and raise greater awareness of the services that are available to them," said Detective Chief Superintendent, Colm Noonan.
"The Organised Prostitution Investigation Unit within our bureau regularly carry out safeguarding checks of people who are involved in the sex trade. This is especially important so that Gardaí can identify anyone who may be vulnerable or who is being sexually exploited or trafficked. Our unit is also cognisant of those who are working independently in the sex trade.
"Any person involved in the sex trade can be assured that An Garda Síochána is here to listen, and will treat any report of a crime against them very seriously and sensitively – whether it is assault, theft or criminality of other kind. "