Wanted: EU bride for marriage of convenience
Destitute young women from eastern Europe are risking serious danger coming here for sham weddings arranged by Pakistani and African crime gangs, writes Jim Cusack
Latvian police contacted gardai last year after they received reports that young women from the country, who had come here for arranged marriages of convenience to young men from Pakistan and a number of African countries, had subsequently suffered trafficking, rape, false imprisonment and violence.
The Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) established Operation Charity and began cracking down on the large-scale scam to draw poor eastern European girls here for "convenience" or sham marriages. Ireland is a particular target for organised Pakistani criminals specialising in these marriages.
Gardai can bring prosecutions in cases where there is evidence of trafficking or sexual or physical violence. They can also prosecute for possessing fake documents. But because of a 2008 judgement by the European Court of Justice overruling our immigration laws, they cannot prosecute people over the sham marriages alone. The Baltic states brides are EU citizens and entitled to be here.