Campaign calls for ban on website advertising escort services

Escort Ireland facilitates the advertising of prostitution services

Campaign calls for ban on website advertising escort services

Image: Andreas Arnold/dpa

The government is being urged to ban a website that facilitates the advertising of prostitution services – and invites customers to review the women they hire.

Escort Ireland contains a host of reviews from men rating women’s ‘physical appearance,’ ‘overall experience’ and ‘value for money.’

Customers are invited to review escorts on a scale of one to five – with graphic descriptions of their sexual encounters.

The site includes reviews such as "knows how to treat a man" and "performed professionally."

One review, posted in the last 12 hours in Limerick, rates the experience as “one to forget.”

The user complains that there was “barely any eye contact or conversation” adding that he was “rushed to the main event and then to the exit.”

The website advertises both male and female escort services.

Over 7,000 people have now signed a petition urging the Department of Justice to step in and remove the website – and ban others like it.

Dublin NGO Ruhama, which supports women affected by prostitution, has welcomed the campaign.

“I mean we have long been familiar with the activities of Escort Ireland – and of the review system,” said spokesperson Ruth Breslin.

“But I think it is great just to get it out there in the public so people can see this for what it really is in terms of the some of the behaviour I guess of sex buyers and the way in which they view the women they are buying.”

“Essentially as products, essentially as pieces of meat and the really kind of dehumanising way in which they are talking about women.”

European operation

In its terms of service, the website insists that it “strictly offers business to business advertising services” and operates totally independently of the escorts that use it.

Insisting it is not an escort service, it notes that it does not accept payments on behalf of escorts or “act as any other type of intermediary.”

Services are offered with the caveat that escorts charge "for time and companionship only. Anything else that occurs is a matter of coincidence and choice between consenting adults." 

The website is hosted in Spain and is subject to the jurisdiction of the Spanish courts.

Trading as Lazarus Trading SL the company moved to Spain from London in 2014 to take advantage of the country’s more liberal prostitution laws.

Owned and operated by an Irish couple, it was previously hosted in London to avoid prosecution under Irish prostitution laws.

The company operates a number of similar websites across Europe.