Women locked in filthy sex cells (Northern Ireland)

Posted on July 29, 2012

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Source:Londonderry Sentinel

YOUNG women are being locked in filthy cell-like rooms in Londonderry and forced to have sex with up to 40 men a day, DUP MLA Jim Wells has claimed.

Mr Wells said that at any given time, there are between 170 and 180 victims of sex trafficking in Northern Ireland.

He made the comments during a recent debate at the Assembly on the second stage of the Criminal Justice Bill which introduces new offences aimed at preventing and combating human trafficking and protecting its victims.

He stated: “Beneath the quiet exterior of parts of Belfast, Newry and Londonderry, young women are being locked in rooms, some of them not even knowing what country they are in.

“Those women are forced to have sex with 20, 30 or 40 men a day. A representative of the Police Service of Northern Ireland showed a graphic picture of a disgusting, filthy room, which was almost a cell.

“On the wall were the marks left by a young woman who had frantically tried to scratch her way out of the living hell that she was in. The police took DNA samples from those scratch marks and were able to identify the woman.

“They know that she was trafficked into Northern Ireland and that she was removed very quickly from that room, but they have no idea whether she is alive or dead.”

He claimed the “nasty, evil practice” is going on on our doorsteps and added: “Unfortunately, the vast majority of the clients of those sex slaves are men. If those men knew what they were paying for and supporting, they would be ashamed for the rest of their lives.

“If there was no demand for those services, there would be no sex trafficking in Northern Ireland.”

He said we should extend the law to make it an offence to pay for sex in Northern Ireland because “it is leading to the misery that is being imposed on many defenceless women from the Far East, eastern Europe and Africa.”

Mr Wells’ comments follow a report in the Sentinel in April in which we revealed that police believe Triads have been forcing women into sex slavery in Londonderry under threat of extreme violence.

A Department of Justice (DOJ) report says women were tricked into coming to Northern Ireland to “carry out cleaning and nannying jobs but were forced into prostitution through extreme violence” by Triad gangs in Londonderry and Belfast.

Local women are also being forced into prostitution by unscrupulous people and moved from one town to another to work in brothels, according to the in-depth DOJ report.

The paper also reported how homeless women are being sexually exploited in Londonderry in exchange for money, drugs, alcohol or just a roof over their heads.

An internal health service paper concentrating on prostitution in the Londonderry area found that despite “anecdotal evidence of brothels in operation in Londonderry and Omagh and stories of girls wanting a change of scene and coming down from Belfast using local hotels” health officials have found it “extremely difficult to provide a service to commercial sex workers.”

Last month a major cross-border vice bust involving raids on over 120 premises – including addresses in Londonderry and Donegal – resulted in a number of arrests and the liberation of at least three suspected victims of human trafficking.

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