Gardaí carried out two days of action last week targeting the purchasing of sex across the country.

The operations were conducted on Thursday and Friday, 24 and 25 November, across six divisions in Dublin, as well as in Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Longford and Galway.

As a result, 46 people were identified as having allegedly purchased sexual services.

There were 65 safeguarding visits conducted, with a view to eliminating the possibility of sexual exploitation and advice was given to 112 sex workers during these visits.

Five search warrants were executed during the two days in relation to the organisation of prostitution.

Cash amounting to €3,000 was seized from one individual and $500 in cash was seized from a man in the southeastern region of the country.

These operations were conducted as part of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which began on 25 November and runs until 10 December.

During this period, gardaí will be reaching out in 16 languages to communities across Ireland, offering support and protection to victims of gender-based violence.

A text message campaign has been launched, with over 400 messages sent to sex workers this week alone.

Two dedicated phone lines are available for those who wish to respond.

Detective Chief Superintendent Colm Noonan of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) said that "any person involved in the sex trade can be assured that An Garda Síochána is here to listen and will treat any report of a crime against them very seriously and sensitively".

A member of the GNPSB and Human Trafficking Investigation Unit said the recent operation was to build trust with those working in the sex trade against their will.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Detective Superintendent Derek Maguire said "many of them might have an inherent distrust for law enforcement" and gardaí want to "build that rapport with them".

Mr Maguire explained his was focused identifying people who were illegally purchasing sex and on carrying out safeguarding checks on people working in the sex trade.

He said that trafficking in the sex trade is "in every county, it’s in every town and village around the country".

Mr Maguire said the dedicated phonelines are receiving calls and are leading to investigations.

He said a sex worker contacted them during the course of the operation to report an assault.

"We were able to get to her very quickly and we are actually following a definite line of enquiry in that, and that is an active investigation that only occurred last week," he added.