Saturday 22 November 2014

'Escort' web firm hits out at RTE sex work expose

Views of women who chose to work as prostitutes ignored, claims group

Published 17/02/2013 | 04:00

The "escort" agency web company at the centre of last year's Prime Time Investigates programme on prostitution has hit back at RTE saying its programme was unbalanced and did not give a fair voice to prostitutes working of their own free will.

The company, which controls the Escorts Ireland website, E Designers of London, issued a statement through its solicitors last week in which it said it was complaining to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland about the programme 'Profiting from Prostitution'.

It claims the programme did not include the "views of any sex workers' organisations or persons who chose to sell sex".

It also claims the programme "violated the privacy of innocent parties, most seriously the privacy of numerous sex workers (or potential victims of trafficking) by recording and filming them without their permission".

It added: "E Designers has made little comment on 'Profiting from Prostitution' since the programme aired, mainly as we can only speak for ourselves. However, we have decided to now tell some of our side of the story because we feel it is important that another viewpoint on this programme is expressed, and we can do that, whilst we suspect most of the persons impacted upon negatively by this programme are not in a position to do so."

RTE rejected claims in the E Designer letter and said it is now in the hands of their lawyers. A spokeswoman said: "We totally reject the claims in the statement which are untrue and the subject is now in the hands of our legal department, and we take any repetition of these spurious claims extremely seriously."

A solicitor for RTE followed this with a statement saying the contents of the letter were "untrue and seriously defamatory of RTE and those involved in the production of the programme".

Meanwhile, the Dail Committee on prostitution laws is to hear from a sex worker next week. The committee issued an invitation to "Rachel", a 27-year-old Romanian woman who had complained previously that she was not being given an opportunity to air her evidence.

So far, the committee has heard from groups supporting the changing of current laws to criminalise men who pay for sex. Of the 20 groups and individuals, 15 are part of or support the criminalisation proposals being promoted by the group calling itself Turn Off The Red Light (TORL).

Two of these groups have associations with the religious orders who ran the Magdalene Laundries.

Five individuals, all academics, spoke against the criminalisation proposals which, they said, would drive prostitution further underground and increase dangers to prostitutes.

On the first day of hearings, in December, all nine groups invited to make submissions supported the TORL proposals.

Three female sex workers who spoke to the Sunday Independent last week said they had applied to give evidence to the Dail Committee but had not received any reply.

The committee denies that it has denied sex workers a hearing. A spokesman said: "Given the huge number of submissions received, I'm sure you can understand that not all individuals or groups could be called to give further evidence at hearings. The committee decided to invite a small number of these to tease out specific points that were of interest.

"In selecting witnesses to give oral evidence, the committee has done its best to ensure a fair and balanced expression of views."

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News