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Authorities recorded 48 cases of human trafficking in 2012

The figure includes 19 Irish minors, all of whom were reported as victims of sexual exploitation.

Image: young woman via Shutterstock

A TOTAL OF 48 people were reported as victims of human trafficking in 2012, according to new figures published this afternoon by the Department of Justice. The figure represents a decrease of nine on the previous year’s figures; there were 57 alleged victims  in 2011.

The 2012 figure is based on information from the gardaí, NGOs and the International Organisation for Migration. It includes 19 Irish victims, all of whom were minors reported as victims of sexual exploitation. The others came from elsewhere in the EU (10), Western Africa (8) and other regions (11).

In total, there were 39 reported cases of sexual exploitation, six cases of labour exploitation and three uncategorised exploitation cases. 31 of the reported victims were women or girls – the other 17 were male.

Reacting to the figures, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that combating human trafficking remained a priority for the Government. The Minister plans to publish the ‘Second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking in Ireland’ early in 2014.

“The prevention and detection of trafficking in human beings has been a stated priority of An Garda Síochána in recent years and I commend the Gardaí, other State agencies and civil society who work together to fight this crime and support its victims,” the Minister said.

Regarding the high number of the minors reported as victims of sexual exploitation, Shatter said that the the majority of cases being investigated did not involve prostitution:

“With regard to the abhorrent human trafficking of children for the purposes of sexual exploitation, it is important that we recognise that the offences that are reported for 2012 arise predominantly outside of the context of prostitution.

“Human Trafficking is very broadly defined in Irish legislation and offences relating to child pornography, for example, may often contain the elements of human trafficking – such as recruitment and sexual exploitation – that will bring such actions within the legal definition of human trafficking.

“The reports concerning 21 of the 23 children in 2012 related to offences such as child pornography, sexual assault and sexual indecency, rather than exploitation through prostitution. That is not to say that the trafficking of children for exploitation through prostitution may not be occurring, 2 cases of that nature were reported in 2012 and remain under investigation.”

Figures for the last four years show there has been a decrease in the number of people from outside the European Union being reported as victims. 42 of the 57 victims reported in 2011 were from outside the EU.

The full report for 2012 can be found on the State’s dedicated Anti-Human Trafficking website www.blueblindfold.gov.ie.

Read: Couple who ran London prostitution ring to be sentenced today

Read: Brothel-keepers guilty pleas welcomed by PSNI

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