Friday 23 March 2018

Eilis O'Hanlon: Where the hell are the guards when needed?

A moral fatwa on prostitution is not only dishonest but also counter-productive, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

It's very hard to make a TV documentary about prostitution without making it look salacious.

Prime Time didn't even try. The fast cutting, the nocturnal shooting, the street lights, the women in mini skirts -- the style of last week's much-hyped expose of the vice trade might not be to anyone's taste who's never had an interest in trawling the city for sleazy encounters with anonymous women; but for those who get their jollies from such activities, the style and imagery of the show must have been like crack cocaine. It was shot like a pop video, with the content to match.

Ten minutes in, viewers had been informed that there were prostitutes in Ireland and it was possible to contact them online. Hold the front page. Fifteen minutes in, they'd learned that if you went to the location named, the prostitutes would be there, offering something which the reporter, rather bizarrely, called "hard-core sexual services" (are there any other kind?) Twenty minutes in, we'd even discovered that a woman once jailed for brothel-keeping was still involved in the trade. OK, that's mildly intriguing. Flesh out with some hair-raising stuff about people trafficking, and we're done.

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