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Ruhama | Supporting women affected by prostitution and trafficking

Press Releases

US report urgently calls on Ireland to do more to prevent and respond to trafficking in human beings

Posted on 20 June 2019

Human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation remains the most predominant form of trafficking in Ireland, according to the 2019 US State Department Trafficking in Persons report  launched today.

Each year this report provides the most comprehensive global overview of trafficking in human beings and state actions to both prevent and respond to trafficking. As per the US Department of State’s criteria, Ireland was downgraded in 2018 to a Tier 2 country and maintains this ranking for this year. As such, the Irish government is again deemed as failing to meet minimum standards for fighting against and eliminating all forms of trafficking.

Read the full statement here. 


Ruhama Press Release TIP Report 20th June 2019

Ruhama launch their Annual Report for 2018

Posted on 30 April 2019

Ruhama, Ireland’s only dedicated national frontline service for women affected by prostitution and sex trafficking, today launches its 2018 Annual Report.The report details the support Ruhama provided during 2018 to 313 women of 40 nationalities, including 122 victims of sex trafficking from 29 countries. 

Women supported were provided with services individually tailored to meet their needs, including: emergency response, advocacy and accompaniment, education and job-seeking programmes, housing and social welfare supports, counselling and holistic therapies. 

Ruhama are calling on urgent further action to reduce commercial sexual exploitation in Ireland. CEO Sarah Benson commented - “We welcome recent Garda action to target sex-buyers in line with the law, particularly as there has been only one conviction of a sex to date. The government must also do more to raise public awareness of the fact that it is now a crime to pay for sex.”

Ms Benson continued; “The ‘normative’ effect is the intention of the law: to ensure the public is aware that it is not okay to purchase sexual access to another person. You cannot simply bypass meaningful consent by paying money and thereby preying on someone’s financial need or precarious situation.”

Read the full 2018 Annual Report.

Read the 2018 Annual Report Press Release

Ruhama welcomes first conviction of sex-buyers in Ireland under Sexual Offences Act 2017

Posted on 21 January 2019

Ruhama, Ireland’s only dedicated frontline NGO supporting women affected by prostitution and sex-trafficking, has welcomed Ireland’s first conviction for paying for sex on Monday January 21st in Dublin’s District Court. A man was discovered paying women for sex during a raid at a brothel in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, and subsequently charged under Part 4 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017. He was convicted and fined €200.

Speaking following the hearing, Ruhama CEO, Sarah Benson, welcomed the judge’s decision: “This case sends a clear message to Irish society that it is not acceptable to pay for access to another person’s body for sexual gratification. Sex buyers have been operating with impunity in Ireland for far too long, and we are hopeful that more convictions will be achieved under this legislation in future. Evidence has shown that tackling ‘demand’ is a key mechanism for preventing the sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable in our society. While the sex trade continues to thrive due to buyer’s demand, the criminal gangs running it are profiting.”

Read the full press release here.  

Pimp wars expose vicious nature of Ireland's sex trade

Posted on 15 August 2018

Ruhama, Ireland’s only dedicated national frontline service for women affected by prostitution and sex trafficking, responds to reports by the Irish Independent (14/08/17), of a savage attack in Dublin yesterday which is believed to have involved crime gangs linked to the city’s lucrative organised prostitution trade.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Ruhama, said: “News of this level of violence within Ireland’s sex trade comes as no great shock to us.  We have nearly 30 years of experience supporting victims of the gangs who organise prostitution.  This particular incident is a timely reminder of who really controls prostitution in Ireland and an insight into the violence it thrives on. If this is what prostitution ‘organisers’ are prepared to do to each other, then it doesn’t take much imagination to consider how they treat the women they exploit.”

Read the full press release here.  

Ruhama launch their Annual Report for 2017

Posted on 18 June 2018

Ruhama calls #TimesUp for sex buyers, pimps and traffickers with 2017 Annual Report 

This year, we provided support to 304 women, transgender people and men of 39 different nationalities from across the globe, including 109 victims of sex trafficking

Sarah Benson says "Women tell us of many incidences of physical violence, rape and sexual assault, which they have experienced at the hands of sex buyers, pimps, traffickers and criminals alike.  The long-term physical and psychological consequences of such attacks cannot be underestimated."

Sarah Benson continued "We are deeply disappointed that no convictions against sex buyers have been secured under this legislation to date. The law cannot therefore be said to have been fully implemented.  This means that the trade continues to have a customer base operating with impunity, and therefore continues to thrive, as do the organised criminal gangs profiting from the sexual exploitation of women. We need swift and decisive action from An Garda Síochána to effectively target both sex buyers and prostitution organisers using this important legislation that they now have at their disposal. The Government must also raise public awareness that it is now a crime to purchase sex in Ireland."

Prostituted women are calling #TimesUp on those who exploit them, now it’s time for the State to do the same.


Read Ruhama's press release : Ruhama Press Release Annual Report 2017 

Read Ruhama's full Annual Report : Ruhama's 2017 Annual Report 

First anniversary of new law to tackle sex buyers: more needs to be done

Posted on 27 March 2018

Marking the first anniversary of the commencement of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, organisations supporting victims of sexual exploitation gathered today to call for more effective implementation of this crucially important legislation.

Read the full press release here.  

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