Man released after arrest over human trafficking in Donegal

Immigrant Council of Ireland says Government must now implement action plan

Gardaí have released a man they were questioning about alleged human trafficking in Co Donegal.

The man, in his 40s, was released from custody at Letterkenny Garda Station shortly after 12.30pm on Wednesday.

It is understood a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The investigation that led to the arrest started on August 30th and involved allegations that young men were trafficked to Donegal to work in cash businesses here.

Gardaí at Letterkenny carried out an operation during which five men were safely removed from a business premises on Pearse Road.

A sixth man was located elsewhere in Letterkenny Town on the same date during the operation. All six, who range in age from 21 to 45 years, were relocated to safe and secure accommodation.

The investigation which is being led by Garda at Letterkenny, assisted by The Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-ordination Unit, Romanian Authorities, The Department of Justice and other Government agencies, is continuing.

Sources say the investigation is far from over.

“Expect more arrests and further inquiries in this investigation,”

said one source.

“An extensive file is being prepared for the DPP. It involves allegations that young women were trafficked to work as prostitutes in Donegal.”

In light of the arrest, the Immigrant Council of Ireland said the Government must act immediately to implement its draft action plan on human trafficking. The council said the targeting of demand is key in order to end the exploitation and abuse of men, women and children by traffickers, pimps and thugs.

The council has been approached by 11 new cases of women trafficked into prostitution so far this year - with 20 others supported in 2014.

Immigrant council spokeswoman Denise Charlton said: "While investigations continue in Donegal, the actions of the gardaí have once again highlighted that our communities are not immune from the scourge of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation."

The council also called for a national anti-trafficking rapporteur to ensure that Ireland’s laws, policies and procedures to jail the guilty while protecting and supporting the victims become the best in the world.

She said: “Victims of trafficking have internationally protected rights to safe and secure accommodation as well as early legal intervention including access to lawyers which must be respected.

“The message must go out loud and clear that Ireland is not a soft target for trafficking, pimping and organised crime.”