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Irish children have been trafficked for 'criminal' purposes - report

A new report by researchers at UCC found that a significant number of children who applied for asylum in Ireland disappeared – and may have been trafficked.

Image: AP Photo/Steve Helber

A NEW REPORT into the scale of child trafficking in Ireland has found that a number of Irish children have been trafficked within the country for exploitative and criminal purposes.

The report also found that a “significant” number of children who were applying for asylum in Ireland disappeared and may have become victims of trafficking.

The report was carried out by researchers at University College Cork for the Children’s Rights Alliance and examined the State’s response to child trafficking in Ireland.

Child trafficking involves the movement of children, often through deception and coercion, for the purposes of exploitation.

The report found that child trafficking cases had been found across the country, including Dublin, Sligo, Kilkenny and Wexford.

Figures from the Department of Justice found three Irish minors alleged to be victims of sex trafficking in 2010, while in 2011 six Irish minors were allegedly trafficked within the State for sexual exploitation.

A major US report in trafficking in 2011 found that Ireland is a destination, a source and a transit country for children subjected to sex trafficking.

Tanya Ward, the head of the Children’s Rights Alliance said that the number of Irish children trafficked within the country is growing and warned that Ireland must not become a “soft touch” for child traffickers who prey on vulnerable children.

“There is much work to be done if we are to truly tackle child trafficking head-on,” said Ward.

With numbers of Irish children trafficked within the country growing, and child trafficking cases found in Sligo, Kilkenny and Wexford, this is not only a problem for Dublin.

Dr Deirdre Horgan, one of the authors of the report, said that Ireland needs a strong legislative and policy framework to deal with child trafficking.

Ireland signed a UN protocol on child trafficking in September 2000 but still has not ratified it.

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