Pimps and prostitutes are moving into border counties in the Republic as a crackdown on the sex trade in Northern Ireland comes into force, campaigners have warned.
There has been more than a 50% rise in online sex trade activity in counties Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and Louth in recent weeks, according to a study by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI).
Laws making it a crime for anyone to pay for sex came into force in Northern Ireland yesterday after it became the first UK region to back a ban late last year.
In Louth, there were 25 escorts advertising their services at the end of May compared to 18 at the beginning of the month. Numbers were up from 14 to 24 in Donegal, from two to nine in Leitrim and from 13 to 15 in Cavan.
ICI chief Brian Killoran said: "The initial indications are that those who run prostitution have been feeling the heat of new laws even before they came into force and have been switching their operations to the south."