Sixteen children trafficked to Ireland in 2013, says US report

Immigrant Council calls for improved anti-human trafficking measures

Frances Fitzgerald: the Minister for Justice has been urged to appoint an ‘anti-trafficking czar’. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Frances Fitzgerald: the Minister for Justice has been urged to appoint an ‘anti-trafficking czar’. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 01:00

Sixteen children were trafficked to Ireland in the past year, a new report has found.

The annual Trafficking in Persons report from the US state department, launched yesterday, looks at countries around the world, focusing on the issues surrounding child trafficking in each location.

A total of 44 potential trafficking victims were identified in Ireland in 2013, compared with 48 in 2012.

Of these 44 victims, 16 were children, including 11 Irish national children who were trafficked for sexual exploitation.

A 2013 report found that there were 48 victims, 23 of whom were children.

Ireland ranks in the top tier of the 2014 report for its compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Earlier this month, gardaí arrested two Nigerian women after seven potential victims of human trafficking were discovered during a raid on a Dublin address as part of a pan-European crackdown.

While the report said the Irish government has improved its anti-trafficking prevention efforts, the Immigrant Council of Ireland said the shortfalls in Ireland’s anti-human trafficking measures identified by the report, must be immediately addressed.

The council said it was vital a promised national action plan on human trafficking was published with effective measures to bring those responsible to justice, while protecting victims.

The report recommends implementing the 2008 anti-trafficking law and said there should be enhanced training of labour inspectors.

It also recommends a Government-wide victim services database and case management system, and enhanced training for social workers responsible for trafficked children.

The immigrant council warned that traffickers, pimps and thugs were exploiting Irish failings to run a multimillion euro criminal empire. The council called on Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to appoint an anti-trafficking czar and to implement Oireachtas Justice Committee recommendations for laws targeting sex buyers.

The report said there had been “an increase in identified Irish children subjected to sex trafficking within the country”.

Denise Charlton of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation were among the most vulnerable people in the country.

“We owe it to them to offer every possible protection and support, from the process of formally identifying them as victims to placing them safely beyond the reach of those who exploited them and finally an opportunity to start a new life.”