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Ruhama | Supporting women affected by prostitution and trafficking

Press Releases

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.  

What Irish Sex Buyers Are Really Thinking - Results of 2017 Campaign

Posted on 18 January 2018

Ruhama, Ireland’s only dedicated national frontline NGO supporting women affected by prostitution and sex trafficking, today reveals what Irish sex buyers really think about the women they pay for sex.  Ruhama has released a short video highlighting the impact of the ‘Andreea’ campaign and what it exposes about the views and motivations of sex buyers in Ireland – in their own words.

Read Ruhama's full press release here.  

Have you seen Andreea? Ruhama launch sex trafficking awareness campaign

Posted on 20 September 2017

Have you seen Andreea? Ruhama launches sex trafficking awareness campaign in collaboration with artist Marian van der Zwaan


Anyone taking a stroll around Dublin city over the next three weeks may spot Andreea and be curious enough to give her a call.  This striking, suggestive image of Andreea is featured on posters in a variety of busy locations across the city.  Underneath her silhouette is her phone number.  Callers are greeted by a bubbly young woman who promises you a fun, ‘sensual’ time. But her story quickly takes a dark turn when it is revealed that Andreea has in fact been forced into Ireland’s sex trade.

We're delighted to announce our participation in international art collaborative project ‘A Penny for Your Thoughts'. This multi-city awareness raising initiative is designed to highlight the plight of victims of sex trafficking across Europe. 

Sarah Benson added: “‘A Penny for Your Thoughts’ is not just about making sex buyers think twice about their actions.  It also aims to enhance awareness and understanding amongst the general public of the realities of sex trafficking and the fact that victims are usually required to put up a positive ’façade’, and so may not be easy to spot.  We urge anyone who finds themselves in a difficult situation in Ireland’s sex trade, or who is concerned about someone they know, to contact Ruhama for support on (01) 836 0292.”

Did you spot Andreea around the city centre? 

Read Ruhama's full press release here.  

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