“As a society, we cannot ignore the issue of domestic violence when the Women’s Aid Helpline was contacted by over 15,000 women in 2008 who reported physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse. The annual Women’s Aid 16 Facts for 16 Days campaign plays an important role in reminding us of the continuing reality of violence against women in our society.
A particular focus for the Immigrant Council of Ireland is the trafficking of women into Ireland for sexual exploitation. In April 2009, we published the results of research which identified 102 women trafficked into or through Ireland between January 2007 and September 2008. The research examined the highly lucrative sex industry in Ireland and the experience of the women exploited within it. It revealed the horrific violence and control mechanisms to which these women are subjected including systematic sexual exploitation and rape. The stories of these women are stories of captivity, isolation, shame, betrayal and violence.
Day 12 of the 16 Days Campaign deals with Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. We hope that the messages on this day regarding the shocking reality of human trafficking will spur many on to take action on this cause. During 2010, the Immigrant Council of Ireland will continue to advocate for appropriate service provision for women who are victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation to enable them to safely escape their dreadful situations of exploitation. We will also be launching a campaign to criminalise the purchase of sex as we believe that only by tackling the demand for paid sex in Ireland will be able to successfully reduce the numbers of women being trafficked to Ireland for sexual exploitation.”