The Nature and Extent of Trafficking of Women into Ireland for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation 2000 – 2006: A Report from Findings

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This report provides a baseline of cases of sex-trafficking into Ireland between the years 2000 – 2006. It concludes that for these years, the probable minimum number of such cases was 76. The vast majority of those cases occurred between 2003 and 2006 and the majority of women trafficked into Ireland were from Eastern Europe. The second largest grouping came from Africa – and the single biggest national grouping from Nigeria. Women were also trafficked into Ireland from Asia and South America. These women were located in the sex industry in both Dublin and outside the capital in towns and cities throughout the country. Our research revealed the use of force, coercion, deception and physical and sexual violence as part of the transit journey. In most cases, when contact was made with agencies and organisations, the women were in states of distress, they frequently had little or no English and were extremely vulnerable. Of the 76 cases, 36 women subsequently disappeared from contact with the organisations and their whereabouts or status is unknown. Fourteen women were repatriated and twenty-two were granted leave to remain or, at the time of writing, were in the asylum process in Ireland. Three were deported and one woman was repatriated to a third country. Our research identified a serious gap in service provision and support in Ireland for women who have been sex-trafficked, largely deriving from the absence of legislation. While many organisations and services are attempting to fill that gap and collaboration exists between statutory and non-statutory agencies, the absence of a legislative framework, funding, policy directions and a coherent state response continues to hamper that work. Our research underlines the urgent need for legislation and that the Irish state is under international obligation to implement law and a policy response. The vast majority of our respondents stressed the importance of a human rights approach to such legislation. The research findings are derived from both qualitative and quantitative methodologies supported by a review of relevant international and Irish literature.

Source: SSRC Research Papers and Reports No. 39, SSRC, NUI Galway.

Author(s):Éilís Ward and Gillian Wiley
Publisher:NUI, Galway
Publication Date:01 Sep 2007
Geographic Focus:Ireland
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