Saturday 18 November 2017

Two fined after brothel raid in screen star's home village

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

A BROTHEL in a sleepy Roscommon village that was once home to the actress Maureen O'Sullivan turned over €1,700 in three days.

The takings, which defy the economic downturn, were seized by gardai on Wednesday, three days after two prostitutes opened for business in a rented house in Knockvicar, on the Roscommon tourist trail, reflecting a growing trend in rural prostitution.

The women, one Spanish and the other Polish, appeared at Boyle District Court on Thursday where they pleaded guilty and received a fine.

The cash, in various denominations of notes, was confiscated.

The women rented the house in Knockvicar over the internet and travelled by train from Dublin to Leitrim last Sunday, according to garda sources. The women advertised their services on an escort agency website. It wasn't long before neighbours became alarmed at the frequency of male visitors to the house in the usually quiet neighbourhood. Detectives put the property under surveillance.

They observed a string of male callers, many of whom apparently travelled from neighbouring counties, according to registration plates on their cars, before moving in to raid the house on Wednesday night, seizing what are believed to be the takings -- €1,700 in cash -- during the search.

Garda sources said there was no evidence that the women were working for an organised prostitution ring. They believe they were most likely working for themselves, exploiting what campaigning groups and gardai say is a growing demand for prostitution in rural areas.

Ruhama, an agency that supports women affected by prostitution, warned earlier this month that prostitution has permeated throughout rural Ireland, driven by criminal gangs in the same way as the drugs trade.

It is organised over the internet and via mobile phone and conducted in private properties behind closed doors.

The agency has reported prostitution in many midlands and western towns. And gardai have investigated crime gangs suspected of trafficking women for sex in several counties across Ireland.

Denis Naughton, the Fine Gael spokesman on immigration and integration, has called for new laws to criminalise men who use prostitutes.

Sunday Independent

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