PROSTITUTION is Northern Ireland’s most successful enterprise, making some £30m per year profit, an MLA has said.
The DUP’s David McIlveen made the disclosure at the recent launch of a new human trafficking education and campaigning project, called Freedom Acts, which officially opened in Craigavon.
Mr McIlveen, who sits on the Stormont all-party group on human trafficking and is a member of the Policing Board, says his figures have come from the PSNI.
“The annual turnover of prostitution in Northern Ireland is some £35m per year, of which about £30m is clear profit, the overhead expenses are comparatively low,” he said.
“By comparison Northern Ireland’s most successful business, Moy Park, made £27m last year. Another major business, Almac, made only around £18.6m by comparison.
“That makes prostitution Northern Ireland’s most successful enterprise.”
He said the PSNI has supplied him with the figures, with estimates that there are some 200 women and teenage girls working as prostitutes in Northern Ireland, seeing about five men per day each.
His colleague David Simpson MP, who sits on the Westminster all-party group on human trafficking, told guests that some 800 men in Northern Ireland use prostitutes every day, which he described as “rape for profit”.
Children between the ages of 10 and 13 are being sold for £16,000 on the streets of London for sexual exploitation, he added.
Freedom Acts is a project being funded for three years by Comic Relief and operating under Craigavon Intercultural Project.
Its two workers, Melanie Wiggins and Laura Wylie, had previously set up an umbrella group to counter human trafficking in which Craigavon Borough Council, the PSNI and Women’s Aid all play a role.
Melanie said: “Our aim is to make Northern Ireland a dangerous place for human traffickers and a safe place for the vulnerable people they exploit.”
To contact Freedom Acts call 028 3839 3372.