Friday, April 20, 2007

Deena makes Irish Legal History

Deena Edridge is the first woman to go to jail for organising prostitution. It is amazing, given the numbers of women who are jailed in the UK and USA, for the same crime.

She also pleaded guilty to organising prostitution and controlling the activities of more than one prostitute for that purpose between the same dates.

The 28-year-old former prostitute was paid a salary of €50,000 to act as a "manager", greeting customers, lining up the girls to allow customers to choose one, handling finances and managing an off-site "call centre".

Judge Katherine Delahunt told Edridge: "You are in many ways a victim and fell into an illegal trade because of abandonment by your father."

She noted however that Edridge was a "major player who had a significant and trusted role in running the business" and imposed two twelve month sentences, to run concurrently.

Det. Sgt Holohan said the business was advertised through web sites and magazines under the guise of 17 different escort agencies.

Customers rang the mobile phone number in the advertisement and were directed to the brothel. All the mobiles were "prepay" or "ready to go" numbers across all networks which could not be traced.

These records allowed gardaí to quantify the brothel’s turnover. He estimated that takings over the four shifts prior to the garda search had been €22,000 and the annual takings were thought to be about €4m.

Det Sgt Holohan said that 35 mobile phones had been found during a search of another premises at Beresford House in the IFSC which operated as a "call centre" for Bachelor’s Walk. He said 32 of these were switched on and being answered by two women employed as "receptionists", directing customers to the brothel.

Det. Sgt Holohan described the prostitution industry as "extremely reliant on mobile phones" and said within two days 14 numbers used by the seized phones were back up and running.

Ms Marie Torrens BL, defending Edridge, said that her client was originally from the UK and had come to Ireland five years ago. She said her client had suffered greatly as a child as a result of her parents’ divorce.

She said both parents had subsequently remarried and Edridge’s father "threw money" at her, allowing her to "live a high life style" until she was 18 and at which point the financial aid ceased, leaving her with a number of credit card debts.

She attempted to take out a loan but got into debt again and answered an advertisement in a newspaper to work as a prostitute.

Ms Torrens said Edridge had been robbed and had a number of frightening experiences working as a prostitute. She was initially employed to answer the phones for the business but took full responsibility for the offences with which she was charged.

Quotes from Manager of Brothel turning over 4 Million Euros per year is jailed by the Evening Echo Ireland.

She was a former prostitute herself. Some women in the industry go on to run agencies or brothels when they retire, it seems to be the next step.

Have a good weekend!

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Although Canada has legislation making it mostly illegal to run a brothel or live off the procees of prostitution, it's rarely enforced. Mostly because police have other priorities and it would be almost impossible to get a conviction. There are also lobby groups waiting for the change to challenge the legislation all the way to the Supreme Court where most politicians think that the legislation would be struck down. The only way that crown attorneys can get a conviction is if there is some other illegal activity involved - usually illegal drugs or violation of immigration laws. So for the most part, if the activity is off the street and out of site, it's ignored by law enforcement.

Thank you for your comments.

I am not certain what the rules are here. LE are selective about who they convict. I know if trafficking is involved, they will go down.
Oh Nia, this is funny and sad on so many levels! I giggled at the thought that the business was 'extremely reliant on mobile phones' and prepay ones at that. Shock! Horror! There I was thinking I was the only girl who used a prepay mobile for my life of vice! :-)

Advertising as different agencies also seems common - I can think of a few in Yorkshire that do that too - although advertising as 17 different agencies and turning over 4m euros is indeed something!

I've come across one or two girls who've gone into running agencies after working as escorts themselves and they make really good 'managers' as they know what their girls deal with and where they need help.

This seems really sad though, in that one can't help feeling they 'got the wrong girl' in Deena's case. Unless I've misunderstood, then as a manager, who was presumably doing what she was told, 50,000 euros a year is a measly salary. Especially considering the turnover of the business, the risks and the fact that Deena was acting as a finance, call centre and human resources manager all at once!

One can't help feeling they should have gone after whoever was getting the 4m euros...

Livvy xxx

Thank you for your comments. Mobile phones, have transformed the escort market.

I know of a number of agencies, that have several phone numbers. I know with agencies that advertise in the paper , clients have claimed they rang different numbers, but the same voice answered,lol.

Livvy, 4M Euros, is not small change,lol.

I imagine that the people who managed Deena, must have gone down, too. I cannot understand why they would only send her down.

I think people who run agencies, and work for agency owners, need to bear this in mind.
I too wonder why they went for her. Was it the scale? Or was ther something else and they used this as a way to get at her?

It seems so very random at times and can give the police disccretion that can be badly used.

Thank you for your comments. I imagine that the rest must have been charged too. If not, how would they justify, not charging the big guys?
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