A report from the US State Department has revealed that children are being subjected to prostitution in Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny.

The State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report said that while Ireland was rated as a 'tier one' country, it cited reports from non-governmental organization (NGO) experts who said that children are being subjected to prostitution in places such as Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny.

There were also instances where women from Estonia and Hungary were trafficked to Ireland for the purposes of prostitution.

According to TheJournal.ie, the department's annual report, which was published yesterday, showed that Ireland was one of only 33 out of a total of 185 countries that have complied fully with laws in place to end human trafficking, yet there was some "dissatisfaction" with the implementation of the laws.

Human trafficking campaigner David Lohan said there needs to be more awareness of the issue.

“Awareness is a key element in tackling this, and other, abuses perpetrated against the person,” he says. “However, awareness cannot be premised on misunderstandings. It demands real understanding of what is done by traffickers, why it is done and how they benefit.”

2008 anti-human trafficking legislation, introduced by former Justice Minister Michael McDowell, created separate offences including trafficking in children for the purpose of labour or sexual exploitation.

The report noted that Ireland has yet to fully prosecute and convict any trafficking offenders as defined by the law but added that the government “complies with all minimum standards of elimination of trafficking."

It also urged Ireland to “vigorously implement” the law and to consider creating an amendment to criminalize forced labor and other forms of "compelled service."