Ireland Amongst Worst in EU at Stopping Child Sex Trafficing

Ireland is among the poorest performing EU states in combating sex trafficking of children and young people, according to an exclusive ECPAT International report, launched today by the Children’s Rights Alliance and The Body Shop.

The report, Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People,  found that  only Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal performed worse than Ireland when it came to showing progress in ending sex trafficking of children.

According to the report, 27 children have gone missing in Ireland between January and May of last year, with only two being accounted for, and there are fears that many may have been trafficked.

ECPAT, a network of organisations working for the elimination of child prostitution, says Ireland is considered primarily as a destination for child trafficking. However, the country is also being used as a transit point for trafficking to the UK through Northern Ireland and ferry crossings to Wales.

It also says human trafficking gangs are organising the trafficking of separated children who are taken into the care of the HSE on arrival in Ireland and says the placement of separated children in privately run hostels without the necessary adult supervision has been directly linked to instances of children going missing.

In conjunction with the publication of the report, the Children’s Rights Alliance and The Body Shop began a global petition in the Grafton Street branch of the shop in Dublin this morning. The petition calls on the Government to enforce laws to prosecute child traffickers and to implement the National Action Plan on combating human trafficking.

Chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance Jillian van Turnhout said although the Government has made some progress, Ireland should not be among the bottom EU states on the issue.

“This is an issue at the heart of our communities, albeit underground. There is a reluctance to acknowledge that this very modern slave trade is happening here in Ireland," she said. "The Government must do more to guarantee children and young people their right to protection from traffickers who profit from the misery they inflict on children.”

To date the joint-campaign against child trafficking in Ireland has raised over €30,000.

- Source: Irish Times, 7/06/2010