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Those opposed to the legislation, including the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland SWAI , said that it has made the job of the worker a lot more dangerous and that demand for sex has not reduced as a result — with the exception of the Christmas holiday period. The prospect of arrest has created a greater sense of paranoia for clients who are now convinced that they are going to be caught.
It is still illegal for more than one woman to operate out of the same premises. Dublin-based sex trade survivor group Space International has called on the Department of Justice to ensure that the law is being fully implemented.
According to the group, there is no way of knowing how many arrests have been made of buyers of sex. Rachel Moran from Space International is one woman who managed to escape a life of prostitution. She started working in the industry at 15 years of age in Dublin city. Speaking about the new laws, she said that sex trade survivors know exactly how it feels to be caught up in prostitution.
We also need a proper system to categorise those arrests. The group said that the last year has meant that women in the industry are now in increased danger due to the new laws. Many sex workers now feel lonelier and more isolated from their peers — something which is having a detrimental effect on their mental health. Before the laws came in, many women would share an apartment. They would take different shifts and would look after the place.
Since the new laws came in, this has changed. Shortly before Christmas, TheJournal. Martina not her real name , who is originally from Moldova but has lived in Ireland for four years, explained how last year she was attacked by a group of men. He called me names and another threw a bottle into the apartment. They all ran off but it was very frightening.