Fifth of trafficked children born in State, says report


A FIFTH of children allegedly trafficked for sex purposes in Ireland in 2010 where Irish-born, one of the authors of a report on child trafficking said yesterday.

Dr Deirdre Horgan, of University College Cork, who co-authored Safe Care for Trafficked Children in Ireland: Developing a Protective Environment, said of the 15 children allegedly trafficked for sex purposes in 2010, three were identified as non-migrant children.

The numbers of Irish children being trafficked internally might seem small, she said, but the numbers of unaccompanied minors coming into the country had dramatically reduced in the last few years, down from a high of 1,085 in 2001 to 97 in 2010.

“It [internal trafficking] is a significant issue and a growing phenomenon not just in Ireland but in the EU generally,” she said.

The report, launched yesterday, said there had been some prosecutions in regard to such cases and other cases were under investigation. Further research was needed, it said.

Commissioned by the Children’s Rights Alliance and conducted by a team from UCC, the report examined the State response to child trafficking, which involves the movement of children for exploitation.

It found a Health Service Executive decision taken in 2010 to stop housing unaccompanied migrant children in hostels had “significantly reduced the number of children going missing and the risk of trafficking”. Before 2010, a significant number of these children had disappeared and may have been victims of trafficking.

It highlighted concerns about the reunification of some children with their migrant families.

“The HSE has not followed up on these unifications and some research respondents were concerned that the family placement was not genuine,” the report said.

It also said though that while there was “significant expertise” in Dublin among professionals dealing with trafficked children, there was a lack of training for professionals and carers outside the capital.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, called for the ratification of the UN protocol on the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution. Ireland and the Czech Republic were the only EU countries that had not ratified, she said.

Margaret Ebo, a social worker in the HSE’s team for separated children seeking asylum, said the numbers of unaccompanied children going missing had reduced significantly.

She also said the HSE had introduced DNA testing before reuniting separated children with their families.