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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                            

Republic of Ireland

Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy. GDP growth averaged 6% in 1995-2007, but economic activity dropped sharply in 2008 and Ireland entered into a recession for the first time in more than a decade with the onset of the world financial crisis and subsequent severe slowdown in the property and construction markets. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services.

Per capita GDP also surged during Ireland's high-growth years, and in 2007 surpassed that of the United States. The Irish Government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb price and wage inflation, invest in infrastructure, increase labor force skills, and promote foreign investment.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Ireland

Ireland is a destination and, to a lesser extent, transit country for women, men, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women from Eastern Europe, Nigeria, other parts of Africa and, to a lesser extent, South America and Asia reportedly have been trafficked to Ireland for forced prostitution. Labor trafficking victims reportedly consist of men and women from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, and the Philippines, although there may also be some victims from South America, Eastern Europe, and other parts of Asia and Africa. One Irish NGO reported that forced labor victims are found in domestic labor and restaurant and agricultural work. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Ireland.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Sexual Violence Center Cork
21 450 5577     or    1800496496
Country code: 353-



Draft Information Note on Human Trafficking

Irish Refugee Council, 5 May 2006

[accessed 30 August 2012]

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THE IRISH CONTEXT - INVESTIGATION - In Ireland neither the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking Act) 2000 nor the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 has ever resulted in a successful prosecution for the crime of trafficking, though individuals have been arrested and charged. This is in contrast to other countries which have had successful prosecutions. There were approximately 7,000 prosecutions in some 20 countries and 3,000 convictions. Unfortunately many countries, including Ireland, do not have strong legislation to allow for successful convictions

Ireland named as major route for child trafficking, September 04 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Ireland has been pinpointed as a major route for trafficking children doomed to a life of slavery or prostitution in Britain.  An official report from the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) explicitly names Ireland as a route for bringing illicit human cargo into the UK.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ITF Critical of Irish Government’s Human Trafficking Record

The Maritime Executive, 23 June 2019

[accessed 24 June 2019]

The U.S. State Department released its 2019 Trafficking in Persons report last week, criticizing the Irish Government’s failure to tackle modern slavery. For the second year in a row, the State Department has placed Ireland in Tier 2, as a result of the Government’s failure to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.

The U.S. State Department has criticized the Government for failing to:

• Obtain any convictions for human trafficking in the six years that have followed since the introduction of the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Act in 2013;

• Prosecute any human traffickers in 2018, including those exploiting migrant fishermen on Irish trawlers;

• Address the “chronic deficiencies” in victim identification, referral and assistance;

• Provide specialized accommodation or adequate services for victims.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ireland

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 10 June 2021]


NGOs, including the Migrant Rights Center of Ireland and the Immigrant Council of Ireland, alleged that employers subjected men and women to forced labor in construction, restaurant work, waste management, commercial fishing, car washes, and agriculture, as well as in private homes as domestic servants. The Romani community and undocumented migrant workers were high-risk groups susceptible to human trafficking.


The government effectively enforced applicable laws, and no reports of illegal child labor were received. The WRC is responsible for enforcement, and it was generally effective, with adequate resources and investigative and enforcement powers.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 29 April 2020]


People generally enjoy equality of opportunity. However, although the government works to combat human trafficking and protect victims, undocumented migrant workers remain at risk of trafficking and labor exploitation.

Trafficked prostitutes not to be deported

John Burke, Sunday Business Post, December 02, 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Women trafficked into Ireland for prostitution will no longer be deported or jailed on conviction, and will instead receive treatment and counselling, in a dramatic shift in the approach aimed at tackling human trafficking.

This new approach - which is already being used in Italy and Portugal - is aimed at encouraging women trafficked into the state for sexual exploitation to provide assistance in criminal investigations. The move follows the signing earlier this year of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

New unit to fight human trafficking

Tom Brady,, November 21 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

A new unit, dedicated to co-ordinating the implemention of a national strategy to tackle human trafficking, has been set up.   A senior official from the Department of Justice will be appointed by Minister Brian Lenihan to head the unit.

Gap in trafficking supports - report

The Irish Times,, 18/10/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

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The report found at least 76 women were trafficked into Ireland for the purposes of sexual exploitation between 2000 and 2006. Most of the women were brought in from eastern Europe, but others came from Africa, Asia and South America.  The report noted that 36 of the women have had no recent contact with support agencies.  Twelve remain in the Irish asylum system, and 10 were granted leave to stay in Ireland or were given refugee status.

Trafficking task force targets child sex trade, October 07 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Children who are forced to work as prostitutes or in the illegal labour market will be the top priority of the joint Irish/British crackdown on human trafficking launched last week - htcp

Report highlights human trafficking

RTÉ News, 12 September 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

An organisation working with prostitutes says it is dealing with more and more women who have been trafficked into Ireland for prostitution.  Ruhama says it knows of 216 women that have been brought to Ireland in the last seven years for that purpose.

Investigation into human trafficking

Wexford Echo, August 23, 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

A major new study has been commissioned to determine the scale of illegal trafficking into Ireland. The research has been commissioned in the wake of the shocking revelation that children are routinely smuggled through Rosslare Harbour.  In a BBC report, an undercover journalist filmed a Bulgarian criminal as he confessed to regularly using the Wexford port to traffic women and children into Britain.  Most end up working in the sex trade when they reach their final destination. The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) hopes that the new study will help authorities to understand the best way to help women and children who are brought to Ireland to be sexually exploited.

Ireland a gateway for child smuggling: BBC

RTÉ News, 27 July 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Ireland is being used as a gateway to smuggle children from Bulgaria to Britain, according to claims made in an expose on child trafficking.

A member of an organised criminal gang in Bulgaria told BBC News that their preferred route to smuggle children was across land through France and Ireland.

Halt human trafficking

Ronan Mullen, Ahascragh, Co Galway,, June 21 2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

The incoming government must act quickly to criminalise human trafficking and to protect the victims of this trade.  The latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report produced by the US State Department reveals that during 2006 “Zambian girls were trafficked to Ireland for commercial sexual exploitation”. It also states that men and women from Latvia were trafficked to Ireland and the UK “for the purpose of forced labour.”

Commission launches probe into human trafficking

IrelandOn-Line, 30/05/2007

[accessed 30 August 2011]

The Human Rights Commission on both sides of the border have set up a joint initiative to investigate the extent of human trafficking throughout Ireland.  The move follows reports from some aid agencies that forced prostitution is becoming a growing problem in both the Republic and the North.

Amnesty slams Irish failure to address human trafficking

IrelandOn-Line, 25/05/2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Amnesty International has criticised Ireland's failure to take adequate measures to address human trafficking.  In its latest annual report, the human rights organisation says Ireland is the only European country with no legislation on human trafficking.

Ireland signs EU human-trafficking convention

Irish Examiner, 13/04/2007

[accessed 14 February 2011]

"While instances of trafficking have been rare to date we cannot assume that this will continue and in this context it is important to send an appropriate signal of the Government’s approach.”   Today’s signing will ultimately result in more formalised structures being put in place which will put safeguarding the human rights of victims to the fore, while providing greater support for victims as well as putting the legislative framework in place to prosecute the organised criminal gangs involved.

How to Help Victims of Human Trafficking?

[access date unavailable]

IN IRELAND, A PUBLIC ORGANIZATION IS ENGAGED IN LIBERATING STRANGERS FROM WHITE SLAVERY there is an address of the Irish NGO "Ruhama" to victims of this evil, published on 6 world's popular languages, including Russian. It includes the statements of the following kind: "We work with women and for women, dealing with prostitution. Do you feel to be driven into a corner? Are you lonely? Are you scared? Does anybody threaten you or your relatives? Have you passports and documents been seized? Are you made to have sex with others? Trust us and tell about that. Call 018360292 (during working hours). We shall help you to find a way out. We shall help you to find a refuge. We shall listen to you and support you in confidence and without pressure".

Irish bishops condemn human trafficking

Catholic World News, June 19, 2006

[accessed 14 February 2011]

The Irish bishops urge their government to ratify international conventions against human trafficking, extend protection to victims, and cooperate in efforts to abolish "this modern form of slavery."

Leanbh - Protecting Begging Children

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children ISPCC Services

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

THE DANGERS OF BEGGING - · Children who are abandoned to beg or forced to beg with parents (sometimes from early infancy) represent a clear-cut child protection issue.· Such children are often deprived of their constitutional right to education.  They are exploited, demeaned and have their human dignity assaulted.  They are out in all kinds of weather placing their health, physical, emotional and psychological development at risk.

Report by Special Rapporteur - 2003 [DOC]

U.N. Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Fifty ninth session, 6 January 2003$FILE/G0310090.doc

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[48] Sale and trafficking of children for purposes connected to slavery are criminalized under the Slave Trade Act of 1824 and under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act of 1998 it is an offence to traffic in or abduct children for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Prostitution itself is not an offence, but soliciting in the streets, or living off the earnings of another’s prostitution constitutes an offence.  Criminal liability is incurred regardless of the age of the prostitute or client. The Children’s Act of 2001 provides a framework of safeguards stipulating how children must be treated in police custody and the operation and special proceedings of the Children’s Court.

Campaign bids to highlight human trafficking

IrelandOn-Line, 05/05/2006

[accessed 14 February 2011]

The severity of human trafficking will be in the spotlight today at the launch of a nationwide publicity campaign.  Despite Ireland's being ranked as a low-risk destination for victims, the initiative is expected to heighten awareness among local communities of the effects of the horrifying crime.  The programme, spearheaded by the Gardaí in conjunction with Crimestoppers, will mirror an operation which brought police forces and other agencies in the UK together to tackle the growing problem of the trafficking.

Human Rights Commission welcomes initiative on combating human trafficking in Ireland

Irish Human Rights Commission IHRC, 5 May 2006

[accessed 14 February 2011]

[accessed 11 February 2019]

The extent of this problem in Ireland is largely unknown as there is inadequate research into the phenomenon and because it lacks visibility.  However, it appears that there is an increased incidence of human trafficking and in particular in the volume of women being trafficked into the country for sex industry.

Ireland - First Counter-Trafficking Information Campaign

Press Briefing Notes, International Organization for Migration IOM, 5 May 2006 -- Spokesperson: Jemini Pandya

[accessed 30 August 2012]

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IRELAND - The campaign is focused around a poster which is available in five languages - Russian, Romanian, Portuguese, French and Chinese - and which features a free phone number which victims can call for assistance. They will then be referred to an appropriate agency including the police and the IOM office in Dublin. The campaign will target high visibility areas such as nightclubs, airports, bus and train stations.

Minister McDowell publishes report on human trafficking

Department of Justice and Law Reform, Press & Publications, 5 May 2006

[accessed 27 January 2016]

The Minister also participated in the launch of the Crimestoppers campaign on trafficking in human beings.  Posters will be displayed at airports, ports, bus and railway stations, among other places. The posters will advertise a free phone helpline - 1800 25 00 25 - and anyone who rings the number can be assured that their call is anonymous, safe and free.

Coveney highlights trafficking in debate on Human Rights Report

May 17, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 6 September 2011]

Ireland remains the only EU country not to have introduced legislation to define and outlaw trafficking of adults.

EU Human trafficking law to combat exploitation

Cormac O'Keeffe, Irish Examiner, January 14, 2002

[accessed 30 August 2012]

The Framework Decision will impose strict penalties, including a possible eight-year prison term, on anyone involved in the recruitment, transportation and harboring of people when there is: force, coercion or threat, including abduction, deceit or fraud, abuse of people's vulnerability, payments given to someone who has authority over a victim.  The document will also create new crimes where the trafficking is with the purpose of: using the person's labor, including forced or compulsory labor, slavery or servitude involving the person in prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, including pornography.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) [DOC]

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 29 September 2006$FILE/G0645074.doc

[accessed 14 February 2011]

Click [here] to access the article.  Its URL is not displayed because of its length

[accessed 31 January 2018]

[76] While noting the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act of 1998 and the 2006Trafficking in Persons and Sexual Offences Bill, the Committee regrets the lack of specific information on the situation of children victims of abduction and sale or traffic for any purpose or in any form.

The Protection Project - Ireland

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

[accessed 22 February 2016]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - Evidence suggests that organized criminal gangs are helping international traffickers establish trafficking routes in Ireland. Links between the Irish sex industry and the Russian mafia have been reported. Of particular concern to the Irish police, known as Gardai, is the growing presence of Russian and Albanian mafias. Gangs based in Estonia and Latvia have also allegedly trafficked women to Ireland.


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – NGOs reported that women were smuggled or trafficked into the country, primarily for sexual exploitation, and that men may be smuggled or trafficked into the country for work in the construction industry or agricultural sector. There were no reliable statistics on the number of possible victims of trafficking in the country, but the most credible NGOs reported there were fewer than 15 victims. NGOs also reported that traffickers targeted younger women who were more vulnerable, had little language skill, and no legal status or recourse and placed them in apartments, where activities were easier to hide. NGOs reported that traffickers used the Internet to advertise and solicit victims.

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