Thursday, November 7, 2013


The recent horrific discovery of a young girl found abandoned outside the GPO has thrust in the spotlight the ongoing tragedy that is human trafficking.

The girl, originally believed to be 14 or 15 years of age and from Eastern Europe, was reported to be found in a distressed state by Garda Siochana in Dublin City Centre on October 10th. She had no identification and was unable to speak with officers when discovered. 

Although recent developments have led to the belief that the young woman was not in fact a victim of trafficking (see the Irish times news report here, the incident still brings home the harsh truth of those vulnerable to and suffering from the crime of human trafficking.

The Immigration Council of Ireland (ICI) have stressed that official figures confirm that over half the victims of human trafficking in Ireland are children. 48 people were identified as being trafficked victims in 2012, with most having been sexually exploited and 23 of those were children.

Recently, (26th September 2013) GRETA (Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking of Human Beings) published a review entitled ‘Report Concerning the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking by Ireland. The Report stated that the number of prosecutions and convictions for human trafficking is still ‘very low’ and the length of criminal proceedings is ‘also a manner of concern’.

Irish authorities were urged by the review committee to take additional measures to ensure that human trafficking offences are investigated and prosecuted effectively, which they say would lead to ‘proportionate and dissuasive sanctions’. It was stressed that new legislation relating to immigration, asylum and human trafficking should be implemented as soon as possible. 

The Immigration Council of Ireland (ICI) has called for development in 4 main areas:

The full implementation of the unanimous recommendations by the Justice Committee for laws targeting the buyers of sex, whose actions fuel trafficking.

The appointment of a National Rapporteur on Trafficking to ensure a joined-up approach across Government and all agencies to respond to this multi million euro crime.

Reform of the system of identifying victims, Ireland has been criticised internationally in this area
The provision of safe and secure accommodation for victims to ensure an end to intimidation, abuse and violence

It must be noted that some progress is underway, with Irish airline crew, airport ground staff, port staff and other transport workers to be offered training to spot victims of trafficking and offer them an escape from pimps and traffickers under a pilot project being developed by the Immigrant Council of Ireland

However, it is necessary to emphasise that human trafficking remains a very real and dangerous concern, prevalent worldwide. Many immigrants into this country and the EU have been or are victims of such crimes. Scarily, many are not even aware that they are such victims. It is necessary to raise awareness of such heinous activity, in order to help prevent and provide aid for victims who find themselves in such circumstances those originally believed of the young woman who is at the centre of the misfortune highlighting the continuing harsh reality of this global crisis. 

To review the Great report, please pursue the following link: 

To review the Department of Justice and Equality information website in respect of human trafficking, explaining its causes and what to do in the event of suspicious sightings please see the following link:

Naomi Pollock

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