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Tougher laws on brothel keeping are putting sex workers at increased risk of arrest or assault, according to those working with prostitutes. It was 1am on a Saturday night when Rachel and her husband heard someone knocking on the door.
They could guess what the caller wanted. Her husband opened the door to an older man, clearly drunk but still nervous. They advertise their services openly on websites. Clients pick a woman from a menu of hundreds and make a phone call to get directions.
Some of the better organised brothels even use a type of call centre to field calls from clients. I talked to the person living beside them and they said stuff falls off their shelves from the banging on the wall. I find it so hard to believe that they can be so obvious about it yet nothing can be done. He says there is little that can be done unless they witness cash been handed over. The woman in a mini-skirt standing under a street light is a relic; today almost everything is indoors and online.
Street prostitution still exists but the vast majority of prostitution is now advertised on the internet. Ruth Breslin of Ruhama , an organisation for women affected by prostitution, estimates there are no more than 70 prostitutes working on the streets in Dublin. The number nationally is probably fewer than Unlike other types of prostitution, the dwindling street trade is still dominated by Irish workers.
And these women are more likely to suffer serious mental health or addiction problems than their counterparts who work indoors, Breslin says. Estimates for those working indoors vary significantly. Some studies say 1,, others nearly 8, One of the reasons it is so difficult to get an accurate count is because many of the women come from other countries and travel or are moved by others around the country, stopping for a few nights in various towns. Some women even travel internationally, coming into Ireland for a few months before leaving for another EU country.