A new US State Department report has named Ireland the top destination and transit country for sex trafficking.
The Trafficking in Persons Report 2014, which was published on Friday, highlighted serious gaps in Ireland’s anti-trafficking laws, the Irish Mirror reports.
“Foreign trafficking victims identified in Ireland are from Nigeria, Cameroon, the Philippines, Poland, Brazil, Pakistan, South Africa, Lithuania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Kuwait, and other countries in Asia, and Eastern Europe,” said the report.
“There has been an increase in identified Irish children subjected to sex trafficking within the country.”
The report stated that the Irish government is complying with the minimum standards to stop trafficking and that police had increased investigations of alleged trafficking offenders, including foreign diplomats.
“Some domestic workers, primarily women, employed by foreign diplomats on assignment in Ireland, work under poor conditions and are at risk of labor trafficking.”
The report went on to say that the Irish government has “decreased its funding for NGOs providing service to victims, and continued to prosecute a high number of non-trafficking crimes, including child molestation cases, as trafficking cases.”
In 2013,44 potential trafficking victims were identified, compared to 48 victims the year before.
The US State Department said that more prosecutions should be brought and urged that the implementation of “the 2008 anti-trafficking law to ensure sex trafficking and forced labor offenders are held accountable through convictions and dissuasive sentences.”
Sarah Benson, who is the chief executive officer of Ruhama, which supports women affected by prostitution and trafficking, said: “We concur with many of the concerns outlined in this year’s TIP report, particularly those dealing with the identification and protection of victims.
“These concerns include the flawed identification process, the low quality of housing provided for victims, and the cumbersome referral process.”