Ireland must back crackdown on traffickers, says immigrant council
EU to debate report urging criminalisation of those who use people trafficked for sex
Balloons held by Denise Charlton, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, as a sign of solidarity with trafficking victims identified in Ireland as part of EU Anti-trafficking Day, outside Leinster House in Dublin last week. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Ireland must support EU moves towards a crackdown on organised criminal gangs who run sex-trafficking operations across the EU, the Immigrant Council of Ireland has said.
Commenting in advance of two key EU debates on crime, corruption and money laundering, and the influx of impoverished migrants, the immigrant council said Ireland should be proactive in the fight against sexual and all other forms of exploitation.
Migratory flows of people across the Mediterranean are the subject of a debate at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg this week, where MEPs are expected to call for a common EU policy on migration.
The parliament is also set to debate a report which calls for the criminalisation of those who use services offered by sex traffickers and “victims of all forms of exploitation of human being trafficking”.
The council has contacted all Irish MEPs asking them to support the recommendations when they come before the European Parliament this Wednesday.
Denise Charlton, chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said “the scale of a criminal sex-trafficking network which stretches across Europe, including Ireland, has been laid bare in this timely report from the European Parliament. It concludes that 270,000 people are being trafficked for sexual exploitation each year in a criminal ‘trade’ worth €25 billion.”
In Ireland it is estimated that pimps and traffickers are pocketing up to €250 million a year, she said.
“It is clear that while politicians have debated the issues around prostitution for years, the pimps and traffickers have only expanded their networks and are now a continent-wide ‘Mafia style’ operation.”
Nusha Yonkova, anti-trafficking co-ordinator with thecouncil, said the moves should not be delayed “any longer”.