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Cavan Superintendent says brothel purge continues

Story by Sean McMahon

Saturday, 3rd May, 2014 8:43pm

Cavan Superintendent says brothel purge continues

Mia De Faoite, ex-prostitute now studying psychology is calling for a law to criminalise those who buy sex.

Sean McMahon

Gardaí in Cavan are to crack down on the establishment of brothels in the county town and any criminal activities linked to prostitution.

Superintendent Jimmy Coen told The Anglo-Celt this week that property owners and agents should take proper care to ensure that their premises are not being used for criminal activity such as brothel keeping.
Supt Coen told The Anglo-Celt that prior to 2012, there was not much of an issue with Brothels or Prostitution in Cavan. There were eleven detections for brothel keeping in 2012, while there were seven in 2013.
Supt Coen confirmed that there has been one detection for brothel keeping in Cavan so far this year. He said that the Garda Siochána will be enforcing the legislation to the full letter of the law.
“These premises are usually searched under warrant, persons charged and brought before the court. As part of our investigations, where we are noticing that certain premises, residences and addresses are found to re-engage in this activity, we will be investigating with a view to forwarding investigation files to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. This will be in respect of persons making earnings off this type of activity,” he explained.
Supt Coen added: “We encourage property owners and agents to take proper care, to ensure that their premises is not being used for criminal activity.”
He added that they also liaise with the charity Ruhama in respect of females they encounter in these premises, the large majority of whom are non-Irish nationals. “One of our priorities is to ensure that there is no human trafficking involved.”
Ruhama is a Dublin-based organisation that supports women affected by prostitution and trafficking.
Supt Coen said that they find that this type of activity is very transient. “Once a detection is made here, the offenders and the people organising it just move onto another location – another major urban town.”
“We are also liaising with gardaí in these other centres and with the national units,” he said.
Supt Coen said they are aware that a number of premises have been used in Cavan Town. He also referenced 2012, when he pointed out that there was a murder at one of these locations.
“Very serious criminality can arise out of this activity and the Gardaí will rigorously investigate all such activity in this area and bring the perpetrators before the courts.”

Going rate for sex €150
The Anglo-Celt has learned that the average amount of money paid by a man purchasing sex in Cavan and surrounding counties is €150. This can rise to well over €200, depending on the services demanded by the buyer.
Cavan Town Council recently became the 28th local authority to unanimously pass a motion supporting the ‘Turn Off The Red Light Campaign’, which wants to end abuse, exploitation and sex trafficking by targeting the buyers of sex and make it an offence to pay for sex. There are around 800 women for sale on line everyday and most towns the size of Cavan will have access to around six of these women on any given day.
Most sex trafficking gangs have a woman involved, as young girls will trust a woman.

Brave woman speaks out on Prostitution experience
Former prostitute Mia de Faoite told the Celt that frequently prostitution is just considered a woman’s issue. “It only exists because of men. It is important that men who are standing up against it, are heard,” said Mia.
She praised the Men’s Development Network for their campaign supporting the introduction of laws against the buyers of sex.
Mia De Faoite said that she was in prostitution for just under six years and went into it at the age of 33 years.
“The average age of girls entering prostitution is their late teens. I would have been seen as very unusual. Some of the older women were there 20 years.”
Mia worked in Dublin and noticed in her last couple years in prostitution that there was an influx of girls from Eastern Europe. “For my last 18 months I worked alongside a trafficked girl from Africa,” she said.
When asked if it was more dangerous to work on the streets compared to indoors, Mia De Faoite said: “It is all dangerous. The street is safer because you are out in the open air and you can run or jump out of a car.”
She added that the street gives you a few minutes to suss out if they are drunk, aggressive or high. “In an apartment when they make an appointment, they arrive and shut the door and that’s it. Indoors in much more dangerous.”

Gang rape
Mia told the Celt of one of her own most traumatic experiences. She is the survivor of a ‘gang rape’ when she had only been on the Burlington Road for five months. The young girl that was with her on that occasion died of an over dose about two months later.
“I have countless accounts of humiliation – being urinated upon, having my head caught between the steering wheel and their knees. We are not quite seen as human. We are just objects to be bought.
“That is why we are fighting for this law – to make it illegal to buy someone,” said Mia.

Most clients married
When asked if she ever wondered why some of these men were out paying for sex, Mia said that initially she didn’t. “I had a heroin problem. That’s why I went out there. You think you will be there for a few months and get sorted, but the streets kind of own you very quickly and you lose sight of any choices.
“You begin to see the world in a different way. Your only human contact becomes people who want to buy you and the damaged women you stand alongside. You don’t realise going in, that is going to happen.”
She estimates that between 60 to 70% of the men buying sex are either married or in relationships. They would be wearing their wedding rings and would use excuses like, the wife is pregnant.
“I used to think – how disrespectful. Not only do you think you have a right to buy me, but also insult the woman minding the children and cooking. They have absolutely no respect for their own wives,” she said.
Mia added that some clients would even be connected to successful women, have daughters the same age as the girls on the street, or even arrive to buy sex with a child’s seat in the back of the car.
“They do tend to be middle class. It is very rarely that you get a working class man down there.
“It is about power, but really it is only because they feel inadequate in their own lives. I am absolutely convinced, that it is men in some way lacking in power – inadequate in their own lives – they come to the streets to replace it,” said Mia.

Mia is now just about to finish second year in NUI Maynooth, where she is studying Philosophy.

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