Last Thursday and Friday, 24th and 25th of November, the Garda Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) with the support of local Garda units, conducted intelligence led operations to protect those in the Sex Trade across 16 Garda Divisions including Louth.
During the course of the operation:
In addition, a number of positive outcomes were reported as a consequence of the targeted action:
As a result of this work by Gardaí earlier this month, a number of files are now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions, with a view to determining if any criminal prosecution can be initiated.
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As part of its support for the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism against gender based violence, An Garda Síochána has also launched a text message campaign which is aimed at offering confidential support to those working in the sex trade.
An Garda Síochána have two dedicated phone numbers for those in the sex trade in Ireland to contact to report a crime, seek advice or assurance as necessary.
Over 400 messages have already been issued to sex workers this week, and this initiative will continue in the coming days. The text message, which includes the details of available services, is sent in English, Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese.
Speaking today, Detective Chief Superintendent, Colm Noonan of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau said, "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.
"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. "