A controversial and hard-hitting play examining the dark world of human trafficking and sex slavery in Ireland is coming to the Linenhall Arts Centre on Monday October 6, at 8 pm.
Diablo is expected to shock Mayo audiences with its unflinching and harrowing depiction of the lives of people who are trapped in a life of prostitution after falling victim to one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in Ireland.
The play will be followed by a panel discussion on human trafficking.
Local councillor Therese Ruane, who has worked closely with human trafficking victims and women and girls who have been trapped in the sex industry in the past, welcomed the play’s upcoming showing in Castlebar.
“We need to discuss this issue, to bring it out into the open and not in a sensational way,” said Cllr Ruane.
She said sex slavery is very much an issue in Mayo.
“There is no doubt about it, there are women and girls in Mayo who are victims of human trafficking and are being exploited in the sex industry,” she stated.
“This is having a devastating effect on the women and girls involved, on their physical health, and mental health. They face beating, sexual assault, degrading treatment, rape, and live with the constant threat of violence. We have a duty to protect vulnerable women and girls,” she added.
Margaret Killoran, Castlebar is a member of a voluntary group called Mercy End Child Prostition and Trafficking (MECPAT ).
They have worked to bring Diablo to the Linenhall Arts Centre.
“We are a small group of volunteers who work to raise awareness in rural communities in the west of Ireland about the growing reality that human trafficking is happening not just in distant cities but here, in our own towns and villages too.”
“Sadly, this is a crime of our time,” explained another member of MECPAT, Margaret Tiernan, also from Castlebar.
“It is impossible to know the scale of the problem because it is very much under the radar but we do know that this is happening, even in Mayo.
“It is essential that communities are alert to the problem.”
One MECPAT initiative involves working with the local hospitality industry, in partnership with the Irish Hotels Federation, to ensure staff and management at hotels, which are often used as a key point in the human trafficking chain, are aware of and alert to the signs of the criminal practice.
“All of us have to take responsibility for highlighting this issue,” added Ms Killoran.
Diablo comes to the Linenhall Arts Centre on Monday October 6, at 8 pm. The play is for adults only and contains strong lanugage and disturbing scenes. Telephone the arts centre on (094 ) 9023733 for further information or bookings.