Up to 20 people found in house as part of investigation into suspected human trafficking
Six people have been arrested as part of an investigation into suspected human trafficking.
The occupants - three men, and two women (aged in their early 40s and early 60s) and a young girl - were arrested following the planned search of a house in Co Meath.
Up to 20 people were found at the house at Castletown, Kilpatrick in Navan yesterday evening around 8pm.
It is understood gardai were alerted to the house on Thursday evening by an Eastern European.
They were taken by minibus to Navan garda station were they received assistance and the services of an interpreter were sought.
It is believed that those found were from Eastern Europe originally.
Reports are emerging that the people found in the house, who were all men, were trafficked into Ireland to be forced into labour.
Edel McGinley, Director of the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland, told RTE Radio 1: “We’ve dealt with over 200 cases of forced labour and there are a number of key risk sectors that we work in.
"So over the years we’ve identified sectors such as fisheries, cannabis grow houses, car washes, restaurants, circus, agriculture, we’re particularly concerned at the moment about seasonal workers in agriculture. We know the areas where exploitation happens.”
“The Migrant Rights Centre has been calling for a regularisation, for over six years, of all undocumented people in the State,” she added.
“That’s something that’s really necessary in terms of protecting people’s rights and upholding labour standards in the Irish context.
“We estimate between 20 – 26,000 undocumented people in the State, and I suppose there is a hypocrisy in terms of successive governments going to the US to advocate for the rights of the Irish undocumented and doing very little here in the State to respond to the needs of undocumented migrants here,” she said.
Gardai have now launched an investigation into the allegation of false imprisonment.
Those arrested are currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 at various Garda Stations in the Meath Division.
They are being held at Kells and Ashbourne garda stations.
Further planned searches are expected to be carried out today.
Investigations are ongoing," a Garda spokesman said.
More to follow...