Friday 6 December 2019

Pop-up brothel reveals Wexford's seedy sex industry

Extent of Wexford's sex industry revealed: Credit: Gerry Mooney
Extent of Wexford's sex industry revealed: Credit: Gerry Mooney

David Tucker

A Garda swoop on a ‘pop-up’ brothel has revealed the scale of the sex industry in one county.

A Garda swoop on a ‘pop-up’ brothel has revealed the scale of the sex industry in one county.

Three women and two men were discovered in an apartment in Wexford town after complaints from people living in the quiet residential Parnell Street.

The women left the apartment carrying black plastic bags with the men handcuffed. One man, a foreign national, was arrested at the scene and later released. A file has been sent to the DPP.

However the incident has revealed the large number of women available throughout the town county whose numbers and services are listed on ‘Escort Ireland’, a website based outside the state which is not subject to Irish law.

Chief Superintendent John Roche said gardai had been aware for some time that ‘pop up’ brothels had been operating locally.

“They move from apartment to apartment, town to town,” he said.

“It’s widespread and not just in Wexford (town), but throughout the county and country.”

He added there was nothing to suggest that any of the women, mainly Europeans, had been trafficked or were unwilling partners in the sex industry.

‘From the ladies we have interviewed there is no evidence of trafficking,’ he said.

The raid was carried out last week when gardai were tipped-off  by former Wexford town councillor Joe Ryan who had received a call from a resident of Parnell Street saying that their doors being knocked by men looking for the girls.

A BMW car and cash are also believed to be seized.

‘There was a foreign man involved and he couldn’t properly pronounce number 1a where the brothel had been set up, so men were knocking at the wrong doors looking for the women they had made appointments with,’ said Mr Ryan.

Residents said three new girls had arrived the day before the raid, and three others who had been there were driven away.

Mr Ryan said one of the residents had compared pictures of the girls being advertised online with those entering the apartment.

Most were listed as being Wexford-based, with dates given for when the women would be available in the town, as well as in New Ross and Gorey. Charges for their services included  €120 an hour and between €700 and €800 for a night-long date.

‘I suspect it had been going on a few weeks,’ continued Mr Ryan.

‘My concern is that these women were being exploited. It would be extremely deluded and foolish to think that this was in some way mutual.

‘There were men going in and out of the apartment all the time.’

Neighbours said it was like Grand Central Station at the top of Parnell Street, with clients searching day and night for Number 1A where a ‘pop up’ brothel was operating.

Weekends, dole day and after dark were the busiest periods, according to local residents.

‘It was like Grand Central Station with men holding their mobile phones to their ears to try to find where they were supposed to be going,’ said one  man, who asked not to be identified.

‘The man had they had making the appointments had a thick, foreign accent and 1a was being confused with other addresses in the street.’

Witnesses first noticed ‘unusual happenings’ in the normally quiet residential street a couple of months ago.

‘There were suddenly a lot more cars late at night and men looking for that address,” another added.

‘There was one man out on the street at three o’clock in the morning looking for a prostitute... that’s not what you would expect in “holy” Parnell Street.’

Former US President Jimmy Carter this week called on the Irish Government to enforce tough new laws to target pimps and those buying sex.

In a latter to every TD and senator he said politicians must act to end the exploitation, abuse and trafficking of women and girls by changing the law.

Wexford People

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