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Seeking Sanctuary

Five years ago, Ernest Slickus arrived in Ireland from Lithuania, hoping to build a better life but found himself being hunted by a criminal gang. He speaks to Aoife Moriarty about his experiences and how another migrant helped him to come out. Photograph by Hazel Coonagh.

28 year-old Ernest decided to travel from his homeland in search of job prospects. “Wages are much lower in Lithuania,” he explains. Friends had told him about an ‘opportunity’ to work in Ireland and put him in contact with some people who said they could find him a similar job to the one he had in Lithuania working in a supermarket warehouse.

As soon as he arrived, things didn’t seem right. “They put me in a tiny room on top of a pub in Arklow in Wicklow. But I wasn’t getting any news of work, so I’m like, ‘Guys, what’s going on? I need to work. It’s been three days already and you’ve not asked me for any documents.’ From the first look, I didn’t trust them.” Ernest says he had only previously spoken to the men by phone.

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About GCN

In this super-hot Sex Issue, we are celebrating sex positivity and body positivity, all of the good stuff, basically. In a host of incredible interviews and opinion pieces, the community speaks about the issues that matter to them. The fabulous Evvol talk about showcasing lesbian eroticism in their work, while a special report details the afterparty scene for gay men. We speak to Mary Shannon, the custodian of the Irish Names Quilt, while iconic photographer Wolfgang Tillmans talks about his latest exhibition. In recognition of the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, we highlight the activists and volunteers of ACT UP and KnowNow and look at key moments in Ireland's battle against the virus. We also speak to people from across the spectrum of varying relationships about why theirs works for them. We think you'll enjoy this one!