GARDAI are considering seeking a court order so they can publish a photograph of a teenage suspected sex trafficking victim in a bid to identify her.
The move, which would be unprecedented, will only happen if specialist HSE staff with foreign language skills are unable to help officers unlock the mystery surrounding her background.
The girl, believed to be aged around 14 and from Eastern Europe, was found abandoned outside the GPO on O'Connell Street in Dublin city centre 11 days ago.
She was carrying no identification and was unable to speak to officers.
Gardai at Store Street contacted the HSE, which arranged for the girl to be taken into care.
She is currently receiving treatment at a Dublin hospital.
Officers say the girl is deeply traumatised and fear she is the victim of sex traffickers and that she suffered sexual abuse over a prolonged period.
She has been unable to speak to detectives beyond a few words in broken English and so far her main form of communication has been through drawing pictures.
These included sketches of a man lying on top of her and of her being brought to an airport.
The girl is not on any international fingerprint list and she has not been reported missing by any European country.
Gardai have been in contact with a number of international police forces in a bid to discover her identity.
HSE experts in dealing with child sex abuse victims with international backgrounds are also being drafted in to help with the investigation.
In a statement, the HSE said: "We can advise that the HSE and An Garda Siochana are jointly working to ensure the welfare and protection of a child found last week in Dublin city centre."
However, if the girl's identity cannot be confirmed through these avenues, gardai will consider publishing a photograph in the hope that someone might recognise her.
This would necessitate securing a court order as, under the law, children in care cannot normally be identified. Details of the girl's case emerged yesterday as the Irish Independent revealed gardai were investigating seven foreign diplomats for alleged people trafficking and forced labour offences.
The girl's case is not linked to any of these inquiries and it is thought more likely she was trafficked by a criminal gang for sex rather than labour.
Last year, 23 children were identified as trafficking victims. Of these, 19 were found in the sex trade.
A report by the US Department of State, which compiles data on people trafficking around the world, said there was evidence children had been subjected to prostitution in various cities in Ireland, including Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny.
The other main countries for trafficking victims arriving in Ireland are Nigeria, Cameroon, the Philippines, Brazil and Pakistan.