Tuesday 20 August 2019

Disgust as jail sentences are handed to sex workers, one of them pregnant

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

The Sex Workers Alliance has said it is "horrified" at the jailing of two prostitutes - one of whom is pregnant.

Adrina Podaru (25) and Ana Tomascu (20) were living in Newbridge, Co Kildare, when the property was raided last November after complaints.

The women were charged with keeping or running a brothel.

Officers entered the premises using a search warrant, having kept watch on the property for some time.

The women admitted to gardaí they worked as prostitutes and signed statements.

But the court heard there were no clients at the brothel when it was raided and no significant amount of money was found.

Judge Desmond Zaidan asked: "Was business that bad?" to which a gardaí responded: "It was early in the night."

The court heard Ms Podaru is expecting a child with her partner.

The women's solicitor said the two, from Romania, were willing to pay a sum to a charity but the judge responded: "They weren't forced into this position."

It was reported the two were sentenced to nine months. Ms Podaru lodged an appeal and was released on bail.

Kate McGrew, director of the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland (SWAI), said: "When we fought to repeal the eighth amendment we spoke of compassion for those who are pregnant.

"We have a long and shameful past of institutionalising 'fallen women'.

"The facts of this case show the 2017 Sexual Offences Law is not fit for purpose. There were no clients present, very little money and no evidence of the workers being coerced into their job."

Ms McGrew said the change in law in 2017 was "heralded as a law that would protect sex workers - but we at SWAI cannot understand how jailing two young migrant women will protect or rescue them."

Irish Independent

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