Crackdown on human trafficking in Ireland

The first human trafficking court case will go ahead in Ireland after a slew of allegations.

Some 66 allegations of sex trafficking were made in 2009 alone.

Catherine Dunne, of the Labour Party’s women section said, "In June 2008, the 'US Trafficking in Persons Report' classified Ireland for the first time as a destination country for women, men, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour.”

No one in Ireland has ever been charged with the crime of human trafficking even though 2008 saw the introduction of Criminal Law (Human Traffickiing) Act 2008.

Out of the 66 allegations in 2009 only 13 were found not to involve human trafficking. Dunne commented on the lack of convictions, thus far, despite the introduction of the law.

She said “In the two years since this law has existed there have been no convictions…Ten prosecution cases have been initiated but we wait for a conviction. While this is not a criticism, we do want to note the fact that this is the case.

"We know from studies that trafficked girls and women have been identified in Ireland.

She added “We do not want this piece of legislation to be like the law against marital rape, which was enacted in 1990 but only secured the first conviction in 2002.”

At a Stormont Public Accounts Committee meeting last month assistant chief constable of the Police Service in Northern Ireland, Drew Harris, said “Girls in their early teens are being trafficked to Northern Ireland and forced into prostitution and servitude right under our noses.”

The conference brought to light chilling stories about various cases of trafficking discovered throughout Ireland.

Harris told the story of a young orphaned girl who had been trafficked through four countries. She was just one of 20 people the Police Service in Northern Ireland had discovered in 2006.