Horrors of human trafficking revealed

There were 57 alleged victims of human trafficking — including 13 children — reported to gardaí in 2011.

Of those, 37 were victims of sexual exploitation, 13 of labour exploitation, two were victims of both labour and sexual exploitation and five were victims of “uncategorised exploitation”.

The Annual Report of Trafficking in Human Beings in Ireland was compiled by the Department of Justice’s Anti-Human Trafficking Unit.

All but nine of the 57 were women, and women also made up all but four of the victims of sexual exploitation. Of the 13 children trafficked, eight were for sexual purposes.

As to origin, 29 were from Africa, 17 were Europeans, eight were Asian and three were Latin American. 21 of the 39 victims of sexual exploitation were from Africa. There were 32 alleged victims who were asylum-seekers, nine were EU citizens and six were Irish citizens.

Only one was granted protection from removal from the country under the administrative arrangements which allow victims of human trafficking a six-month “rest and reflection period”.

Of the 37 alleged victims of sexual exploitation, 23 were reported to authorities by non-Governmental organisations such as Ruhama, the group which works with women in prostitution.

Gardaí began 53 investigations into human trafficking in 2011. Of those, 32 are ongoing, in six there was no or insufficient evidence. In a further six there is an ongoing investigation into other offences. Four are before the courts and in three cases files were forwarded to the DPP.

There was one conviction under the Criminal Law Sexual Offences Act 1993.

The man trafficked undocumented people into Ireland and then put them into prostitution. He was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment with the final 15 months suspended on condition that he leave the State on his release and not return for ten years.

There was one conviction under the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act, 2008. The man sexually exploited a minor. He was sentenced to 3 years. There were four convictions for offences related to trafficking, two of which were under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998.

In one of those cases, the accused was an adult female who controlled and sexually exploited a minor for the purposes of prostitution. The accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison with the final two years suspended.

Awaiting trial is a woman who allegedly trafficked one person into the State. She also faces six counts of controlling prostitution/brothel-keeping. A further seven people are before the courts for sex assault and sexual exploitation of a minor. Ruhama said the report showed there continues to be a growing problem of human trafficking in Ireland. “Our concern is that of the victims of human trafficking only one was granted the six month rest and reflection period. The majority are within the asylum process and are denied access to the administrative arrangements which helps recovery,” said a spokesperson.


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