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Gardai bust 86 in undercover vice operation

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Picture posed by model

Picture posed by model

Picture posed by model

A MAJOR clampdown on street prostitution in Dublin's North Inner City has seen 86 men arrested since 2011.

New figures obtained by the Herald show that more than €6,000 worth of fines have been issued to the men caught soliciting the services of prostitutes.

Undercover gardai posing as prostitutes targeted the notorious Arbour Hill area as part of Operation Kerbside, which has seen a 99pc conviction rate, with fines of €150-€450 handed out.

A senior garda leading the clampdown last night told the Herald that officers have assisted dozens of women in seeking a way out of prostitution.

Superintendent Sean Ward, who is based at Store Street Garda Station, said the operation has led to "major changes".

"We're very pleased with the progress of this operation and it has had a positive impact for the residents of Arbour Hill," he said.

"The operation involves a two-pronged approach. Gardai work to ensure that the men soliciting the sexual favours are brought in front of the courts.

Vulnerable

"But officers also work to assist the women involved in street prostitution in availing of the services offered by the likes of Ruhama and Chrysalis."

Supt Ward said that, while the individual fines may be seen as small, the conviction for illegally soliciting sex "stays with you for ever".

Ruhama CEO, Sarah Benson, said the gardai took a "humanitarian and holistic" approach to the prostitutes.

"Traditionally, you would have these women arrested and brought to court as well as the buyers. So many of these women were on the edge, but what we saw with Operation Kerbside was gardai recognising their vulnerability," she said.

Ms Benson said a Ruhama team continues to visit the Arbour Hill area four nights a week to offer services to women involved in prostitution.

Anyone looking for access to support and advice in relation to prostitution can contact Ruhama on (01) 836-0292.

hnews@herald.ie


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