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Report shows that out of 13 suspected Irish traffickers, none were prosecuted

A new report on human trafficking by the European Commission has found that although the numbers of those trafficked in Europe rose by 18 per cent between 2008 and 2010, convictions dropped by 13 per cent.

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has published a report that has shown that although 13 Irish citizens were suspected of being involved in human trafficking between 2008 and 2010, none were prosecuted.

As well as this, the report found that only four identified or presumed victims of trafficking were Irish citizens. These were all identified in 2010 and were all male.

The report identified 23,632 people as being potential victims of trafficking in the EU – 6,309 in 2008, 7,795 in 2009 and 9,528 in 2010.

These figures represented an 18 per cent increase over the three-year period.

Despite this increase, however, the number of traffickers who were convicted dropped by 13 per cent over the same period.

EU breakdown

When broken down by gender and age, victims were found to be:

  • 68 per cent women
  • 17 per cent men
  • 12 per cent girls
  • three per cent boys

When broken down by reason for trafficking:

  • 62 per cent were trafficked for sexual exploitation
  • 25 per cent were trafficked for forced labour
  • 14 per cent for “other”, which includes trafficking for the removal of organs, for criminal activities or for selling of children

Ireland

In compiling figures over the three-year period, Ireland was one of only three countries, along with Spain and the UK, that was unable to provide data for 2008. In 2009, there were 66 identified and presumed victims, and 78 in 2010.

Of those believed to have been trafficked for sexual exploitation in Ireland in 2009, there was one male and 40 females. In 2010, there were five males and 51 females.

Of those believed to have been trafficked for forced labour in Ireland in 2009, there were five males and 13 females. In 2010, there were 11 males and 8 females.

Of those believed to have been trafficked for “other” reasons in Ireland in 2009, there were three males and four females. In 2010, there was one male two females.

Nationalities

Approximately 45 per cent of those identified in the report had EU citizenship, with the majority of those trafficked coming from Bulgaria, Romania, Germany and France.

Of the remaining 55 per cent with non-EU citizenship, most were African or Asian, with Nigeria, China or Turkey featuring most often.

Most victims detected in EU Member States are from Romania and Bulgaria. Most victims who were non-EU citizenswere from Nigeria and China.

Reaction

The chief executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Denise Charlton, said that the report found that member states were “slow to respond” to the crime of trafficking.

“The failure to identify victims is highlighted and this is a shortfall which we have been repeatedly asking the Government here to address,” she said, including Ireland’s conviction rate as one of these shortfalls.

This report is very welcome and should be studied carefully not just at EU level but also by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and the Government.

EU Commissioner for home affairs, Cecilia Malmström, said that it was “difficult to imagine that in our free and democratic EU countries tens of thousands of human beings can be deprived of their liberty and exploited, traded as commodities for profit.”

“Trafficking in human beings is all around us, closer than we think,” she said.

Read: New report on human trafficking highlights low number of prosecutions >

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Paul Hyland

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