Gardaí seek to identify possible trafficking victim, 14

Gardaí will issue a photograph this morning of a teenage girl who may have been trafficked here in a bid to uncover her identity.

The girl, thought to be 14, was found two weeks ago in a distressed state outside the GPO in Dublin. She was subsequently taken into care.

Permission was granted in the High Court for the gardaí to issue a photograph of the girl as part of a potential media appeal, but gardaí waited until yesterday before making the decision to go ahead with a media appeal.

That will begin with a press briefing at the Band Room in Garda Headquarters at 11am this morning.

The news came as it emerged airline crews and ground staff are to be given the chance to undergo training that could help them spot victims of trafficking.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland said it had contacted the Dublin Airport Authority and was in the process of talking to other staff working at entry points into Ireland in an effort to provide basic training to help spot victims of trafficking. The organisation said people working in airports and ports were often the first potential point of contact for people being trafficked and would benefit from training to help spot victims.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme yesterday Nusha Yonkova, anti-trafficking co-ordinator with the council, said the pilot project would explain “the basics of the phenomenon of human trafficking in the first place” and how to react to it.

She said airport crew and transport workers were often “the first opportunity to seek help and attention” for those being trafficked.

Ms Yonkova said the training programme would alert those taking the training to be alert for signs of nervousness or of control between passengers.

“They should not stay with their unease about the situation that they have spotted,” she said, adding that anyone with concerns should contact statutory agencies and bodies such as the immigrant council.

Ms Yonkova said identifying potential victims of human trafficking was very difficult and “a particular weakness in Ireland”.

A spokesman for the council said the first course in the European Commission-backed project — in which the Immigrant Council of Ireland is a lead partner — could take place in January.

All the individual airlines and airports will be contacted to gauge their level of interest, while many trade unions are also likely to take part in the training due to their prior involvement with the council through its ‘Turn Off The Red Light’ campaign.


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