Prosecution – Ireland

1. Crimes
2. Making a Police Statement
3. After Questioning

This section refers to situations in which migrant sex workers are subjected in criminal investigation:

If, in raid, police pick up an immigrant sex worker who has no residence permit and/or no employment permit, they may initiate an enquiry against her regarding immigration/employment offences.

Criminal proceedings may also be initiated if the woman has committed an offence in another matter. In these cases the woman would be an accused party.


1. Crimes

Working as a sex worker can be penalised as a crime under the following cases (see Sex Work):

  • facilitation of prostitution
    • “Living of the Earnings of Prostitution” under Section 10 of the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 1993
    • “Brothel keeping” under Section 11 of the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 1993
    • “Keeping a Disorderly House” under a common law offence which does not seem to be used anymore but has not been abolished by the newer legislation
  • pimping of a female for prostitution
    • “Organising Prostitution” under Section 9 of the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 1993
  • soliciting or importuning any person
    • “Soliciting or Importuning for the Purposes of Prostitution under Section 7 of the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 1993
    • “Loitering for the Purposes of Prostitution” under Section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 1993
  • others
    • “Distribution or display in public place of material which is threatening, abusive, insulting or obscene” under Section 7 Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994
    • “Advertising of Brothels and Prostitutions” under Section 23 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994

2. Making a Police Statement

A. Right to Remain Silent

The woman has the right to remain silent.

B. Translator

The woman is entitled to the services of a translator in her own language. If she feels unable to trust the translator, she should tell the police. However, she is not legally entitled to another translator unless she can show that the translator translates incorrectly, but she is entitled to remain in silent.

C. Lawyer

The woman is not entitled to her lawyer’s presence at the hearing. However, she is entitled to contact a solicitor of her choice to advise and represent her.
Hint: Memorise a lawyer’s telephone number!

D. Custody

Generally, the woman may be held in police custody for questioning for no more than 12 hours. A person may be re-arrested in order to be charged or if the Gardai have, since the previous release, obtained further information in relation to her involvement in the offence being investigated.

E. Victims of Trafficking in Women

The woman may not only be accused of having committed a crime, but may also be a victim of trafficking in women or other serious offences. Where a woman has become a victim of trafficking, this might influence the decision whether she will be prosecuted. See also Victims of crime, Trafficking in women.

3. After Questioning

A. Immigration Offences

A woman who has committed an immigration offence (illegal residence, illegal employment) will be expelled from Ireland if she does not have a valid residence permit and is not entitled to remain for humanitarian reasons (see information on Migration). In this case, she may be placed in custody pending deportation and subsequently be deported.

B. Other Crimes

Where other offences have been committed (e.g. prostitution related offences, theft, fraud etc.) the investigation authorities will initiate investigative proceedings against the woman, and criminal charge and legal proceedings may follow. If a criminal sentence is passed, the woman may loose her right to residency. This depends on the severity of the sentence and the type of residence permit she may be in possession of.
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