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'A wake-up call': There are 800 people living in modern slavery in Ireland

This figure has more than doubled in the last two years.

Image: woman image via Shutterstock

A GLOBAL REPORT this week revealed there are an estimated 800 people in Ireland living in modern slavery.

The figure was reported in the Global Slavery Index and while Ireland remains one of the countries with the lowest prevalence of modern slavery, in just two years the number of people affected has risen from 300.

Commenting on the results of the index this year, Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said:

The international index is a wake-up call that modern day slavery now exists in every part of our country and is being used to fill the pockets of pimps, traffickers and thugs.

Sexual exploitation

Countries will a lower prevalence generally have low levels of conflict, and are politically stable with a willingness to combat modern slavery.

The report found 65% of identified trafficking victims in Europe were EU citizens, with most coming from countries like Romania, Bulgraia, Lithuania and Slovakia. Forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation remain the most commonly reported forms of modern slavery in Europe.

However, instances of other forms of slavery, like forced child marriage, have been identified in Turkey.

Source: Statista

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The largest proportion of trafficking victims were female and Romanian nationals accounted for the most trafficked victims. Romanian women and girls are reportedly recruited by acquaintances, friends of relatives, sometimes with violence, the report found.


The profile of victims may change in time, it said, as a result of the massive influx of migrants in the last year and a half. Those moving out of conflict zones are at a high risk of exploitation and are already being targeted.

It is estimated already that as many as 10,000 children registered as refugees are now unaccounted for, with 5,000 missing in Italy and 1,000 in Sweden.

While not all have been trafficked, Europol has warned that gangs are now targeting these children for sexual exploitation, slavery and forced labour on farms and in factories.

The Immigrant Council is now calling on the government to pass the Sexual Offence Bill to cut the demand for sex trafficking and target those fuelling these crimes by buying sex.

The organisation also wants an independent rapporteur appointed to ensure the country has the best possible laws to crush human trafficking crimes.

It is urging the government to improve ID of victims to ensure they are “protected and supported – not treated as criminals”.

Read: Survivors of Nepal earthquake ‘being sold as child slaves in UK’>
Read: Doctor and his wife who kept man as a slave jailed for 12 years>

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