500 women 'for sale' at Christmas
The sex-trade industry was flourishing over Christmas with more than 500 women "for sale" online.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland warned that a failure to bring in sex-buyer laws here has allowed exploitation and abuse to continue right across the festive season.
It said that escort agency websites - which have servers based abroad to by-pass existing Irish law - had 630 women for sale in Ireland on Christmas Eve, 515 on Christmas Day, and 565 on St Stephen's Day.
It said that in the short time remaining before the election, it is important the Government now honours its commitment and deliver sex-buyer laws to target demand for these crimes by completing the progress of the new Sex Crimes Bill at Leinster House.
"It is significant that all frontline agencies supporting women sex-trafficked to Ireland are backing the laws which will end demand, and have convinced politicians right across the spectrum that this is the best way forward," said Brian Killoran, chief executive of the council.
"TDs and Senators have listened to the evidence and now have an obligation to act," he said.
"We are now asking them to turn their words of support into action and ensure the passage of the Sex Crimes Bill with urgency so that Ireland is no longer a safe haven for pimps, traffickers and thugs," Mr Killoran added.