Monday, September 19, 2005

PRESS RELEASE: RELEASE IMMEDIATE

Esmond Birnie MLA UUP South Belfast
“Well done to Channel Four for their programme last evening (9 pm) Sex Slaves exposing the sad story of one Ukrainian woman trafficked into the sex industry in Turkey. The Channel Four programme suggested that around 500,000 people are trafficked every year into the West to service a growing prostitution sector (other commentators suggest up to 700,000--- many do come from the former Communist bloc or USSR countries and others are driven by the grinding poverty in parts of Africa and Latin America). Here in Belfast let us not kid ourselves that this does not involve us.

Belfast has a growing commercial sex industry and, as in Dublin and London (though still on a smaller scale), where such activity exists it generates a demand for labour (i.e. exploitable women) which cannot be met locally. Hence international labour movements (many of which will be somewhat coercive). Consider, for example, some recent examples of the commercial sex industry in South Belfast:

· Two brothels raided only last week (but there are probably 10-20 operating at any one point in time)

· A raid on a Lisburn Road area brothel several years ago found women from Eastern Europe

· The infamous Movie Star café lap dancing club (closed down only a few years ago after great efforts by the City Council) contained a veritable United Nations of workers from all around the globe

· Central Belfast has a number of sex shops--- that number may well grow after last week’s High Court judgment re. the (supposed) human rights of a owner previously denied a licence”.



Esmond Birnie MLA UUP South Belfast
07703-184459, 028-90291149, 028-90520304

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