Wednesday 26 November 2014

Woman trafficked into Ireland at 15 speaks of years of abuse in Temple Bar brothel

Published 04/02/2014 | 19:04

A Moldovan woman, trafficked to Dublin when she was just 15-years-old, has spoken of her life of abuse in Irish brothels.

She was brought to Dublin after she was sold by her brother in law for €3,000 in her native Moldova and was immediately put to work as a prostitute.

As a teen, she was forced to have sex with up to 15 men a day in brothels in Temple Bar and Rathmines.

Trafficked for sexual exploitation, she has agreed to make public the details of a life of threats and abuse at the capital's brothels.

In an interview released by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, she shared her harrowing story.

“I had a guy once, he was on top of me holding me by throat and neck," she said, under a false name Hannah.

"I have his fingerprints in my neck for weeks. I was lucky that his friend walked in."

She came to Ireland under the pretense that she was starting a new life but was instead trapped in years of sexual abuse and violence.

“I know that I didn’t want to stay there but the only thing I felt in my head was either the crime was going to kill me to end this. Or I am going to be killing myself to end this," she said.

Hannah detailed feeling physically unwell after being sent on a call to an old folk’s home.

She recalled how a fake ID was used when Gardaí came across her in a Rathmines brothel to hide her true age of 16 or 17.

After 7 years, Hannah eventually confronted her pimp and now lives in Ireland with her daughter.

She agreed to record her story as part of a project being undertaken by the Immigrant Council of Ireland.

“This recording makes for uncomfortable and disturbing listening," said Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland Denise Charlton.

"Yet, it is a reality which is happening in our communities which we cannot ignore.

"For the first time ever the public and our policy makers will hear the truth about sex-trafficking, and not the ‘Pretty Woman’ fiction being peddled by vested interests in a €250 million trade," she said.

The recording is being released ahead of ‘‘a political day of action’’ tomorrow at Leinster House.

The Immigrant Council and the other 67 partners of the ‘Turn Off the Red Light Campaign’ will lobby politicians from all parties for laws targeting demand for prostitution.

"It is impossible not to be moved by Hannah’s story. Yet for those of us involved in the frontline work of the Immigrant Council it is one we have heard 50 times over the years," said Nusha Yonkova, Anti-Trafficking Co-ordinator with the council.

"Reaching out to trafficking victims is particularly difficult because of the control of pimps, traffickers and thugs, we may never know how many other women and girls are out there trapped in similar situations,’’ she added.

Aishling Phelan

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