Horrors of trafficking unveiled in report

MOST victims of human trafficking are subjected to threats, imprisonment, sexual abuse and beatings by their traffickers, according to a Government report.

In many cases their wages and personal documentation are withheld and threats are often made against their families back home.

Those trafficked into prostitution — including minors — are typically not able to refuse clients or refuse certain sexual acts and more than 25% are denied the protection of condoms.

A Department of Justice survey of trafficking victims said some report being controlled by “juju”, a form of West African witchcraft.

The annual report of the department’s anti-trafficking unit found 19 children were trafficked in 2010, 15 of them for sexual exploitation. There were four convictions for human trafficking last year — all involving minors.

In two cases, the perpetrator received a suspended sentence. In two others, a six-year and a ten-year sentence were imposed.

The Annual Report of Trafficking in Human Beings in Ireland 2010 said there were 78 alleged victims of trafficking last year, compared to 66 in 2009.

Of the 78 victims:

- 56 were victims of sexual exploitation and 19 of labour exploitation

- 19 were minors, almost a quarter of all victims

- 61 were female and 17 were male

- 51 sexual exploitation victims were female

- 11 labour exploitation victims were male

- 30 victims were from West Africa, 12 from the rest of Africa and 17 from the EU

The report said there were 69 garda investigations, including seven files that were with the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Nusha Yonkova, of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, described as “worrying” the finding that at least 15 children were involved in sexual exploitation. She noted that no one was prosecuted for buying sex from a trafficking victim.

Coercion

- Threats to the individual — 72%

- Denied freedom of movement — 68%

- Psychological abuse — 67%

- Sexual abuse — 63%

- Physical abuse — 60%

- Withholding travel documents — 38%

- Withholding wages — 37%

- Withholding identity documents — 35%

- Threats to family at home — 32%

- Denied medical treatment — 13%

- Denied food/drink — 13%

- Juju — 13%


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