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18th Jan 2018

New Campaign Exposes The Devastating Reality For Trafficked Sex Workers In Ireland


A new campaign called ‘A Penny For Your Thoughts’ has highlighted the insensitive attitude of sex buyers toward victims of the trade.

The campaign is a multi-city initiative aimed at raising awareness about sex-trafficking. 

The project was undertaken by The Samilia Foundation in Brussels, who partnered up with Ruhama in Dublin, Fondation Scelles (Paris), o Ninho (Lisbon), Acsis (Bucharest) and The Animus Association (Sofia). 

They created a short film based on the experiences of Ruhama, a Dublin-based charity working with women affected by prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation. 

The video reveals the story of ‘Andreea’, a fictional character, who describes how someone took her from Eastern Europe to Ireland to work in the sex trade. 

And even after hearing her devastating story, over two thirds of callers asked her about the sexual services that she offers.

According to the Irish Independent, Sarah Benson from Ruhama said: “We were immediately struck by the extent to which sex buyers saw ‘Andreea’ more as a service or a product, rather than an actual person.”

“The language they used and the way they communicated with ‘Andreea’ just confirms to us the dehumanising nature of prostitution that so many of the women we support describe experiencing.”

A poster advertising ‘Andreea’ was posted in several locations including many across Dublin city.

When people rang the phone number on the advertisement, they were greeted by what initially sounded like a charming girl. However, after a few moments, ‘Andreea’ revealed that she had been sex trafficked.

She received 759 calls and 314 text messages within 20 days.

The charity analysed 209 calls between ‘Andreea’ and different callers, and found that 82% inquired about what kind of ‘services’ she provides.

Benson said: “They displayed a completely callous disregard for a victim of Ireland’s vicious sex trade. These buyers were only concerned with their own sexual gratification and getting the kind of sex acts they wanted, and did not seem to care that this was at the expense of a vulnerable woman in a clearly difficult situation.”

She added: “If we really want equality for women and girls then we must fight against the proliferation of the sex trade and the culture of male sexual entitlement it is predicated upon.”

“This includes holding sex buyers to account for their actions and challenging their view of women as mere commodities.”

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