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Number of human trafficking victims in Ireland rose for third consecutive year

Sexual exploitation is most common but there has been an increase in the proportion of labour exploitation being detected.

Image: Yupa Watchanakit via Shutterstock

THE NUMBER OF human trafficking victims rose for the third consecutive year to 95 in 2016.

The Trafficking in Human Beings in Ireland report found that female victims (50) outnumber males (45) and that sexual exploitation is most common.

However, there has been a gradual increase in the proportion of labour exploitation being detected, which has involved mostly men.

There were 52 cases of sexual exploitation last year – 43 women and 9 men – and there were 38 cases of labour exploitation – 6 women and 32 men.

There were also four cases of forced criminality, all men, and one case of sexual and labour exploitation, which was a woman.

The report also noted that Ireland’s experience of human trafficking is broadly similar to that of the EU as a whole.

Publishing the report, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said:

Human trafficking is a crime hidden in plain sight, perpetrated on society’s most vulnerable and is taking place in communities throughout the country.

“We are sending a strong message to criminals who seek to traffic and exploit vulnerable people: strong laws are in place, detections are increasing, and perpetrators will pay a high price for their heinous behaviour.

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“Human trafficking is a clandestine activity and I am encouraging members of the public to notify gardaí if they fear a person is the victim of human trafficking.”

It is expected that comparative data for 2017 will be made available at the  mid-year stage in 2018.

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