herald

Monday 25 September 2017

63 in court as gardai target kerb crawlers

SIxty three kerb crawlers have been convicted in eight months as gardai crack down on prostitution in the north inner city.

In a report, gardai said that 63 men have been found guilty since last October of soliciting women for sex in the Arbour Hill area.

During the same period, only four prostitutes have been convicted, the politicians were told.

Labour councillor Emer Costello told the Herald she believes it marks a welcome shift from the previous practice of mainly targeting the women.

"Gardai started Operation Kerb last October. It's an undercover operation targeting men soliciting prostitutes. Since last October, they had 67 convictions. Only four of these were women and 63 were men. It's a real turnaround.

"If you can deal with the demand, you cut the supply. The aim should be to target those who are soliciting sex from women," said Ms Costello, who represents the north inner city.

Lesson

The councillor said the men in question were nearly all first time offenders, with the convictions ranging from the Probation Act to fines.

"I think this is something quite positive. If you target the men, you will have greater success in dealing with the issue. It will be a lesson for people as well -- you will end up arrested and in court, that's the message."

Ms Costello was given the information at a meeting of the council's joint policing committee (JPC), a forum for politicians, gardai and the business community.

She said a better approach to dealing with women who work as prostitutes -- rather than charging them -- is to try to get them to access support services like Ruhama.

Two of the seven women who were identified as sex workers in the Arbour Hill area entered into programmes, Ms Costello added.

The news comes following reports earlier this year stating that the previous government was considering radical new criminal legislation that would shift the gardai's approach to prostitution by making it illegal to buy sex but not to sell it.

comurphy@herald.ie

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