THE US STATE Department’s annual report into human trafficking worldwide has said it has received reports of children being subjected to prostitution in areas such as Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny.
Though the report, which was published yesterday, showed that Ireland was one of only 33 out of a total of 185 countries to have complied fully with laws in place to end human trafficking – making it a ‘tier one’ country – there was some dissatisfaction raised with the implementation of anti-trafficking laws in this country.
Writing for TheJournal.ie today, human trafficking campaigner David Lohan says there needs to be more awareness within Irish communities of the issue of human trafficking and a more deeper understanding of how it affects people.
“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.”
The State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report found that while Ireland was rated as a tier one country there were instances where women from Estonia and Hungary were trafficked to Ireland for the purposes of prostitution.
Most significantly it cited reports from non-governmental organisation (NGO) experts who said that children are being subjected to prostitution in places such as Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny.
It noted that the State has yet to fully prosecute and convict any trafficking offenders as defined by the 2008 anti-human trafficking legislation but it said that the government “complies with all minimum standards of elimination of trafficking”.
The legislation, introduced by former Justice Minister Michael McDowell and which came into force in June 2008, created separate offences including trafficking in children for the purpose of labour or sexual exploitation.
The report urged Ireland to “vigorously implement” the law as well as consider drafting an amendment to criminalise forced labour and other forms of compelled service.
The State Department said that while the government had identified no cases where human trafficking victims had been deported from Ireland or had been deported in cases where they had committed unlawful acts there were concerns from NGOs that “unidentified victims may have been inadvertently deported or punished for crimes committed while under coercive control of their traffickers.”