Gardaí have begun liaising with Europol and other international agencies to combat potential human trafficking arising out of the war in Ukraine, Dublin City Council has been told.
Det Insp Daniel Kelly of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau told councillors on Monday night that gardaí were being updated "on an almost daily basis" by a European multidisciplinary team which is monitoring the threat of trafficking from Ukraine.
“We have lot of conversations on going within Europol and associated counties in relation to that. We are getting regular updates and as of last Thursday no case has come forward.”
However, he said it was likely in time these crimes would arise.
“It’s very early days in relation to the possibility of people being trafficked or coming to the surface in the form of labour exploitation or sexual exploitation but I would anticipate that in time that will become obvious,” he said.
"In respect of the Ukrainian crisis at the moment there is a lot of good work being done in sharing information in Europe. As soon as a country or a police force comes across an investigation, Europol are to be notified so we can all tackle the issue together."
A total of 44 victims of human trafficking were recorded by Garda last year, almost two-thirds of whom were women. All the victims identified by gardaí were adults with 28 women and 16 men. Of the total, 25 were victims of sexual exploitation and 19 were subject labour exploitation.
Just one successful prosecution for human trafficking has been completed since legislation was introduced 14 years ago, Det Insp Kelly said.
“The human trafficking Act came in in 2008 and it was amended in 2013 and the first successful prosecution was in Mullingar last year in relation to three Nigerian people and two were convicted of human trafficking.”
While he noted the crime carries a potential 40 year sentence the longest sentence in this case was five years and nine months. A number of other cases were in the system he said.