GARDAÍ confirmed that a 12-year-old African girl had been taken into state care following a cross-border investigation into human trafficking.
The Nigerian girl was discovered by gardaí when they carried out a search at a house in west Dublin last Thursday.
It is understood the girl does not have parents in Ireland and was taken into custody under the Immigration Act. The minor has been handed over to the HSE, which has placed the girl into care.
A Garda source said the circumstances of how she arrived in the country would be investigated.
The search was one of a number of raids carried out by the gardaí as part of an operation led by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Two men were arrested in Co Antrim on Thursday, one of whom was charged on Friday with facilitating unlawful immigration.
A spokesman for the PSNI said: “The charges relate to a proactive operation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland organised crime department, assisted by An Garda Síochána National Immigration Bureau, against organised immigration crime.”
He said: “The 51-year-old man and a man aged in his late 30s were arrested by police during the search of two houses in the Lisburn area on Thursday morning. The latter has been released pending a report to the PPS (Public Prosecution Service).
He said that a number of searches were carried out by gardaí in counties Louth, Dublin, Meath and Kildare. The PSNI spokesman said that a 12-year-old Nigerian girl was discovered in Castleknock.
“It should be noted that the charges do not relate to this specific discovery, although the searches were carried out as part of the Police Service of Northern Ireland investigation.”
Speaking yesterday, a Garda spokesman confirmed a 12-year-old Nigerian was found in the search: “She was discovered in a house in Castleknock and is now in the care of the HSE.”
He said she was taken into care as a result of the operation into human trafficking, but was not saying she had been trafficked into the country.
The man charged in Northern Ireland is due to appear in court again tomorrow.
The operation comes as a US government report, published last week, named, for the first time, Ireland as a destination country for victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour.
The US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons annual report, placed the republic in the second of three “tiers”, suggesting the Government was not complying with minimum standards for the elimination of the crime, but was making efforts to do so.
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