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Andreea project shows up the sex-buyers

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Ruhama, Andreea project, trafficked women, sex-buyers, Video, prostituted women, EWLVery few of them were in any way concerned about her circumstances or her plight.

Ruhama, Ireland’s only dedicated national frontline NGO supporting women affected by prostitution and sex trafficking, has released a short video about their ‘Andreea’ campaign and what it exposes about the views and motivations of sex buyers in Ireland – in their own words.

‘Andreea’– a silhouette image posed seductively above a phone number – was ‘advertised’ in a variety of busy locations in and around Dublin.

Callers were greeted by the voicemail message of a bubbly young woman with an Eastern European accent who promised a fun, ‘sensual’ time.

But her voicemail story quickly took a dark turn when ‘Andreea’ revealed she had in fact been trafficked into Ireland’s sex trade.

She closed the voicemail by asking the caller to leave her a message with their thoughts.

In just 20 days, ‘Andreea’ received over 1,000 contacts, including hundreds from male sex buyers.

Yet very few of them were in any way concerned about her circumstances or her plight.

An analysis of sex buyers’ exchanges with ‘Andreea’ reveal that their primary concern was how she could ‘service’ them – 82 per cent of exchanges asked about the sexual services ‘Andreea’ provided, with many also enquiring about her prices.

Sarah Benson, CEO of 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.”

“Shockingly, 68 per cent of those who left voicemails, who had the opportunity to listen to ‘Andreea’s’ message and learn that she had been sex trafficked, still persisted in enquiring about the services she was offering,” Benson continued.

“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.”

“Prostitution and sex trafficking are forms of violence against women and girls, and Ruhama saw this campaign as a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the exploitation and abuse that women and girls experience in Ireland’s sex trade,” she continued.

“It is now illegal to purchase sex in Ireland.

“The attitudes of sex buyers revealed by the ‘Andreea’ campaign make us even more convinced of the need for this legislation – to deter those who prey on the vulnerable and put their own needs above all else, and to stop them further fuelling the growth of this harmful trade.”

“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,” she concluded.

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

Ruhama urges anyone who finds themselves in a difficult situation in Ireland’s sex trade, or who is concerned about someone they know, to contact them for support on (01) 836 0292, or text the word REACH for free to 50100

‘Andreea’ was created by the international artist Marian van der Zwaan as part of ‘A Penny for Your Thoughts’ – a European multi-city art project designed to raise awareness of sex trafficking across Europe and beyond. The project ran in Brussels, Bucharest, Dublin, Lisbon, Paris and Sofia and was coordinated by the Samilia Foundation. To find out more, click here.

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