Only half of the 300 reports of human trafficking in five years led to a prosecution
July 17 2022 02:30 AM
Gardaí logged almost 300 human trafficking incidents on its crime database in five years, but only just over half of these were prosecuted.
Between 40 and 70 such cases a year have been flagged on the Pulse system since 2017, new figures show.
Charges were brought in relation to 173 out of 297 “incidents” of human trafficking.
The figures include adults trafficked to Ireland for labour exploitation, for sexual exploitation, for prostitution.
They also include incidents of children trafficked for sexual exploitation or labour exploitation.
An Garda Síochána was unable to specify how many children were suspected victims of trafficking into the State in the last five years when contacted by the Sunday Independent.
The State’s human trafficking watchdog has said the force failed to identify any child victims in the last two years, which it said was a “cause of concern”.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has also raised concerns about the low rate of convictions for human trafficking and called for a standalone review of the police response to the crime.
- The first human trafficking conviction in Ireland was handed down last year when two women were jailed for smuggling women from Nigeria to Ireland where they were forced into prostitution.
The latest garda figures were released to Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD in reply to a parliamentary question. He said the figures were “concerning”.
- “We know that Ireland is classed as a watchlist country by the US State Department when it comes to human trafficking,” he said.
- “We have children going missing very frequently and for long periods of time — yet there seems to be complete secrecy around these disappearances. The number of incidents and charges when compared to District Court convictions is also alarming.”.
Gardaí have been criticised for the slow pace of action on human trafficking. The force has stepped up its anti-human trafficking activities and has joining a number of international operations, including one that targeted ports and airports last month.
The force carried out 264 inspections in Cork, Dublin and Rosslare, Co Wexford, as well as checks on buses to Northern Ireland.
The IHREC warned that “highly organised” transnational criminal groups are trafficking victims between the Republic and the UK. .
This Government has said it will put on a statutory footing a new national referral system that helps identify suspected victims.