GARDAI have brought charges or issued summonses against 94 suspects in a crackdown on street prostitution in Dublin's north inner city.
Operation Kerb has had a significant impact on the level of prostitution in the area and, according to gardai, has resulted in positive feedback from local residents.
Kerb was set up by the garda authorities in the Bridewell sub-district and is aimed primarily at targeting those involved in soliciting for the purpose of prostitution.
Apart from street patrols and searches, gardai also worked with other agencies in a joint effort to help women who had become involved in prostitution.
Figures supplied by Justice Minister Alan Shatter to Fine Gael TD Paudie Coffey showed that since Kerb began in November 2010, there had been a total of 35 searches and 161 arrests or cautions under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act. These resulted in 94 charges and summonses.
Reacting to the figures last night, the Immigrant Council of Ireland said Kerb had been a success.
Chief executive Denise Charlton said Kerb had seen gardai directly target kerb-crawlers and the fact that prostitution had been removed from the area and pimps and traffickers had moved on, showed that by taking on demand, prostitution simply shut down.
"This success mirrors the impact of similar operations in Limerick, where buyers were also targeted," she added.
"But while these on-street operations have been a success, gardai are almost powerless to prevent the most prevalent form of prostitution, which takes place in brothels, apartment complexes and hotel rooms. It is there that thugs and criminal gangs make the big money."
Nusha Yonkova, anti-trafficking co-ordinator with the Immigrant Council, also congrat- ulated Bridewell gardai on their success rate.
"We know from our own research that the biggest deterrents for buyers are catching a sexually transmitted disease, prosecution – and being named in the local paper," she said.