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Ireland- Man dies over child sex case

7-20-2008 Ireland:

Child prostitution suspect may have committed suicide

A MAN is thought to have committed suicide after being questioned by detectives investigating allegations of child prostitution in west Dublin, writes John Mooney.

The man’s body was recovered from the Royal Canal near Blanchardstown two weeks ago. Although gardai are conducting an investigation into the cause of death, they have ruled out foul play and suspect that he killed himself.

The man was questioned by detectives two weeks ago after a 15-year-old immigrant said she had been coerced into prostitution and identified the man as a client.

Gardai believe he was introduced to the girl by a prostitute, who is alleged to have forced the teenager to offer sexual services. The prostitute, an African immigrant who was a friend of the girl’s family, was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of organising prostitution and causing a child to engage in sexual activity. A file is being prepared for the director of public prosecutions by detectives, who expect to press charges.

The case was reported to gardai in Blanchardstown after the girl told her mother what had happened. Gardai are trying to establish if any other girls were involved.

Cases of child prostitution are rare in Ireland, according to gardai, though some children’s charities, including the Irish Society for the Protection of Children (ISPCC), maintains that increasing numbers of young girls are involved.

“We know that young girls, particularly teenagers from immigrant communities who arrive in Ireland unaccompanied, are getting involved in prostitution,” said Caroline O’Sullivan, the ISPCC’s director of services. “This case yet again proves that child prostitution is happening and we urgently need new laws to protect youngsters who are vulnerable.

“If this case goes to court and the woman who has organised this stands trial, this girl will have to testify and prove her innocence, as opposed to the person who coerced her into prostitution actually proving their innocence.” ..News Source.. by John Mooney

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