An organisation working with women involved in prostitution has said there has been a 22% increase in demand for its services in Dublin.

Almost 50% of Ruhama's casework services involved victims of sex trafficking.

Ruhama said prostitution has a similar impact on the women it has helped regardless of whether they have been trafficked or not.

According to its annual report, stories of sexual, physical and mental abuse were commonplace among those availing of the voluntary organisation's services in 2009.

Ruhama worked with a total of 196 women affected by prostitution last year, a rise of 22% on the previous year.

It provided support to 26 new victims of human trafficking, one of whom was a minor.

The majority of new trafficking cases involved women aged in their 20s and the largest number of new cases came from Nigeria, followed by Romania and Kenya.

It has expressed concern at the impact of the recession on those it helps, saying that women are taking greater risks than before.

Ruhama also points out that the Government has reduced its funding by 20% at a time when its services are in greater demand.