It was entirely appropriate for the Immigrant Council of Ireland to mark the first UN designated World Day Against Trafficking by urging the Government to ensure that shortcomings in Irish law are properly addressed in its new action plan on human trafficking to this country.
Given the porous nature of Ireland’s rugged coastline, and the relative ease of access to Britain through Northern Ireland, this country is known to be an ideal target for those who prey on vulnerable people, especially the young women who arrive here on the promise of getting a job but end up working in the multimillion-euro sex trade. Othersbecome what are in effect slaves in the cannabis growing business.
The council is absolutely right to underline the urgent need for a robust approach to be taken in the national action plan when it is launched in the autumn. It is vital that an adequate support system be provided for the victims of trafficking.
Besides giving them the protection they need, there must also be strong laws to deter the evil godfathers behind this shameful business, including the prospect of ending up in jail if and when they are apprehended by the gardaí. There can be no denying that the sheer volume of trafficking into this country is much greater than the powers-that-be seem aware of or are willing to admit.
Whatever the answer, there are also compelling reasons why those who buy sex should be targeted.
They provide the demand which has the knock-on effect of making this a highly lucrative industry for those who profit on the vulnerability of defenceless and helpless victims.
As Denise Charlton of the council executive succinctly put it, the new plan is an ideal opportunity for Government to send out the message that Ireland is not a soft target for traffickers.
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