Sunday 20 October 2019

Human traffickers 'living in asylum centres'

Justice Minster Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minster Frances Fitzgerald
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

SEX TRAFFICKERS are living in Ireland's asylum centres and putting victims in immediate danger, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland and victims.

A report submitted to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald today highlights the international criticism of Ireland for failing to protect asylum seekers who have been sexually exploited.

It finds that victims of sex trafficking are left vulnerable to further abuse in the country's 34 direct provision centres because they can be easily contacted or intimidated by pimps and traffickers. This can lead to further grooming or exploitation as well as victims being pressurised into withdrawing complaints made to the gardai.

A spokesperson for the Immigrant Council of Ireland said: "Accounts given by victims indicate traffickers have actually used the asylum system for residency and accommodation while simultaneously trafficking victims."

Nightmare

Immigrant Council of Ireland chief executive Denise Charlton added that the conditions that sufferers of sex trafficking live in were not good enough.

"Many have survived years of daily rapes after being tricked into coming to Ireland with false promises of a dream life, a new job or even marriage, only for a nightmare to start unfolding the moment they step into the car park of Dublin Airport," she said.

The report by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Focus Ireland, Sonas Housing and Nasc - the Irish Immigrant Support Centre - outlined the need for short-term emergency accommodation with trained personnel to help alleviate issues for victims of sex traffickers.

It also called for longer-term care facilities to be made available to extremely vulnerable victims, as the current centres provide very little privacy for them to recover.

Irish Independent

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