Alamy Stock Photo
Human Trafficking

Rise in sex trafficking victims seeking help in Ireland as State is failing on key reforms

Demand for the sex trade is on the rise in Ireland, a charity that works with victims has found.

A CHARITY THAT helps victims of sex trafficking has said that it is seriously concerned about the growing demand for trafficking in Ireland, and the number of victims that are going undetected.

There has been a sharp rise in the number of people coming forward to the charity. 

In 2022 Ruhama engaged with 147 victims of trafficking, 45 of whom were new referrals, which represents a 60% increase on the previous year. 

The charity’s CEO Barbara Condon said that “demand for the sex trade among sex buyers is driving the profiteering from human trafficking.”

“It is a multi-million dollar business and it is estimated that €180 million per year is made in Ireland,” she added. 

Condon said that the sex trade is inherently “violent, dangerous and traumatising to countless individuals in Ireland every day.”

She added that Ireland is behind on putting promised reforms into effect that would help victims.

Slow progress on implementing legislation – including the sexual offences and human trafficking bill 2022 – and the continuing practice of housing trafficking victims in Direct Provision centres are two key issues, Condon said.  

“Despite best efforts, major gaps in Ireland’s identification procedures and protection of victims remain unchanged. 

“Ongoing delays in reforming the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) have further impeded Ireland’s progress in tackling Human Trafficking for sexual exploitation,” she said. 

Condon said that the ongoing failure to secure “gender-specific accommodation” for human trafficking victims has seen Ireland garner international criticism. 

“Direct Provision is completely inappropriate and unsuitable for anyone who has gone through severely traumatic experiences.

“They are put at high risk of re-traumatisation and re-trafficking. We need to ensure safe, secure, gender-specific accommodation is prioritised as a matter of urgency,” she said. 

Condon added that Ruhama “regularly witnesses” the impact that “unsafe and inappropriate” accommodation has on victims of human trafficking. 

The aim of NRM reforms is to extend the process by which victims are formally identified to other statutory organisations so that people who have been trafficked don’t have to engage with law enforcement to get access to supports. 

Condon said that Ruhama has concerns that the true extent and real number of trafficked victims in Ireland is “seriously undetected”, and that this is restricting access to supports. 

“Whilst we are assured that the reformed NRM will be introduced soon, the demand for sex trafficking is evidently growing,” she said. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel