Six arrested in Co Meath in suspected human trafficking case

Gardaí detain three men and three women following search of house outside Navan

Gardaí at the scene in Castletown Kilpatrick, Co Meath where six people were arrested under charges of alleged false imprisonment. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Gardaí at the scene in Castletown Kilpatrick, Co Meath where six people were arrested under charges of alleged false imprisonment. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Six people have been arrested in Co Meath last night under charges of alleged false imprisonment, believed to be related to human trafficking.

Three men and two women aged in their early 40s and 60s and a younger woman were arrested in the Castletown Kilpatrick area outside Navan after a planned search of a house last night.

They are being held in various Garda stations across Co Meath under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

It is understood that the arrests were made after an allegation was made to gardaí­.

There is no further information as to how many people have been discovered but it is believed that they are of a particular ethnic background.

There are unconfirmed reports a number of people are being cared for by the authorities.

Forced labour

Edel McGinley, director of the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland, said she is pleased to see the increase in policing in these areas which has lead to the discovery of potential human trafficking and forced labour.

“Last year we had a number of cases in terms of human trafficking, but no prosecutions. It is really important at this stage; we really need to have prosecutions so they can act as a deterrent,” said Ms McGinley.

The migrant rights centre has dealt with more than 200 cases of forced labour, many originating in sectors such as restaurants, fisheries, entertainment and domestic work.

“You are at greater risk if you are undocumented, there is still of lot of undocumented people out there,” said Ms McGinley. The migrants rights centre estimate there are between 20,000 to 26,000 undocumented people in the country.

“We are a good bit further on [then we used to be] but we do need to do more,” said Ms McGinley.

The scene of the raid is being preserved by gardaí­ and investigations are ongoing.