Organised Chinese criminals open chain of brothels across Dublin
'Irish Times' advertising to sell sexual services
Young Chinese women working in "massage" parlours which are advertised in the Irish Times were last week offering "hand jobs" for €60.
The establishments, styling themselves "massage centres", have sprung up across Dublin and its suburbs this year.
Gardai said they appear to be centrally organised, as all offer precisely the same services and quote the same prices.
All advertise with mobile phone numbers in the "massage and physical therapy" section of the small ads pages at the back of the Irish Times.
Of the eight operations advertising in a recent edition of the Irish Times, seven offered a "half hour" at exactly the same rate of €60 when contacted by phone. One young woman who answered our call volunteered that "hand job" was on offer for €60. Three others, when asked if more than massage was on offer replied: "Hand job."
Three others, when asked if "extra services" were on offer, replied that the caller should "ask the girl" after attending the parlour.
They all volunteered the locations, which included a residential street in Dun Laoghaire; a suite above a row of shops in south County Dublin; and various apartments in Phibsboro, Crumlin and the Portobello/Camden Street area.
One, operating from a basement apartment in Dun Laoghaire, quoted the same €60 rate for half-an-hour to include massage and "hand job" on last Friday afternoon.
A Chinese woman in her 40s was answering a mobile phone, and at least one young woman in her late teens or early 20s was providing the "services".
The older woman, when asked if more "services" were on offer for more money than the €60 quoted, replied: "Talk to the girl."
She also said the girl would "make you very happy".
The upstairs of the terraced house is currently being renovated into offices. During a half hour on Friday afternoon last, two men -- one middle- aged and driving a Dublin registered Toyota, and the other, a younger man of Eastern European appearance -- left the parlour, and another middle-aged man arrived.
The Dun Laoghaire parlour, like most of the others, has only a mobile phone contact number and quotes opening hours of 11am to 10pm.
The upstairs of the Victorian house was being renovated into offices and no one working there knew how long the massage parlour had been open.
One of the office staff said: "A lot of guys go in and out, right enough."
Above a shop in Stillorgan the young woman who answered the door of the parlour offered the identical "massage" and "hand job" for €60 in perfect and quietly spoken English.
Two of the advertised premises in the Camden Street area are within yards of each other. When asked over the phone what services other than massage were on offer, they replied: "€60 for half hour."
Asked if any other services were on offer the woman replied: "You ask girl. She look after you well."
A woman who answered the phone to the neighbouring parlour again quoted €60 for half an hour, and when asked what other services were available, replied: "Ask the girl when you come."
The young woman in Phibsboro quoted the same price and added: "Talk to the girl when you come in."
The girl who answered the phone in Crumlin offered: "fantastic massage" and "hand job".
Yet another advertising as operating in the city centre directed the caller to an apartment on the Quays and said: "We do full body massage. Only hand job, no more than that."
When contacted by the Sunday Independent, the Gardai said that they did not know the exact number of these Chinese parlours that have opened in Ireland in the past year -- but one garda said that "dozens" have sprung up in Dublin alone.
The garda sources said they had no idea how the girls came to be in Ireland but thought that most were probably here on student visas -- the most common form of entry into the country for Chinese workers.
The main concern of the gardai is that young Chinese women have been trafficked into Ireland. How they came here, and what happens to them here is usually a mystery.
Some women are known to suffer wretched lives and are often abused by their traffickers and even murdered.
Last year, at the trial in Belfast of a Chinese Triad human trafficker known as a "snakehead", it emerged that a 22-year-old Chinese prostitute called Qu Mei Na was strangled after she asked to be freed.
It was learned that she had been abandoned as a baby as part of the harsh "one child" culture in parts of China, through which female children are shunned, sold or simply killed by their family.
She was abandoned on a train and then given a home by an elderly couple who brought her up as their daughter. She was forced into sex slavery after paying Triad human traffickers to get her into Europe.
Her traffickers got her into Dublin on a student visa through one of the fake foreign student colleges. Then in 2002 they brought her to Belfast and forced her to work as a prostitute.
She was charged around €30,000 by the traffickers to get into Europe and was initially told that she could work the fee off in well-paid employment.
However, her body was found in the boot of a car in Belfast in June 2004. Triad member Chang Hai Zhang, described by members of the Chinese Community in Belfast as her "slave master", was tracked down to China by the PSNI and sentenced to life imprisonment last year.
Human trafficking is now rivalling the drugs trade as the biggest form of organised criminal activity throughout the globe.
The Chinese gangs lead the world with thousands of young people being trafficked internationally.
In the US, the FBI estimate that a healthy young woman, enslaved and working as a prostitute, can produce over a $1m in profit for her masters over a four- to five-year period. After that, they may be deemed to have paid off their "debt" and may be released.
Last year the Irish Government introduced the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act and signed the European Convention on Action against Human Trafficking. A Child Trafficking and Pornography Law was enacted in 2002.
However, the Irish Refugee Council is critical of the Government for not providing places of safety and refuge for women trafficked here for sex.
If gardai were to raid any of the premises openly working as brothels, the girls could be prosecuted and deported -- or, if their student visa papers are in order, they could be simply released -- and they would then again be in the hands of their slave masters.
The IRC says that there is no co-ordinated multi-agency response to assist victims of trafficking in Ireland, and there are only ad hoc arrangements from the National Immigration Bureau, the Garda and some charities.
The IRC regularly reports that women and children who are trafficked here disappear, and there is no way of knowing if they are alive or dead.