2012 Report into Child Trafficking
In September 2012, the Children’s Rights Alliance launched Safe Care for Trafficked Children in Ireland: Developing a Protective Environment. This report, commissioned by the Alliance and researched and drafted by University College Cork, comprehensively examines the State’s response to the problem of child trafficking in Ireland. Critical findings emerging from Safe Care for Trafficked Children in Ireland: Developing a Protective Environment include:
- Before 2010 a significant number of separated children in the asylum process disappeared, and may have been victims of trafficking because they were living in hostel type accommodation.
- A HSE decision to place separated children in foster care arrangements has significantly reduced the number of children going missing and the risk of trafficking.
- Professionals find it difficult to identify and document the number of trafficked children because of the illegal and clandestine nature of the practice.
- Child trafficking is not just confined to migrant children. Irish children have been trafficked within the country for exploitive and criminal purposes.
- Gaps in HSE policy and practice may have been exploited by traffickers who are moving children for criminal reasons.
- Some children have come into the State unaccompanied and have been unified with migrant families in Ireland. However, on the whole, the HSE has not followed up on these unifications and some research respondents were concerned that the family placement was not genuine.
- Despite significant expertise in Dublin, lack of training for professionals and carers outside the capital has hampered their ability to spot signs of child trafficking.
The Body Shop Global Campaign
This report was funded by the The Body Shop and ECPAT International (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) global campaign entitled, Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People, of which the Alliance was the Irish partner. A hand-cream, Soft Hands Kind Heart, raised the vital funds. The aims of the global campaign were to:
- Raise awareness of the 1.2 million children trafficked globally on an annual basis.
- Influence governments worldwide to implement stricter anti-trafficking policies and legislation.
- Empower ordinary people to make a difference.
Since 2000, 509 separated children have gone missing from State care in Ireland with only 58 accounted for – it is feared that many of the missing children have been trafficked. Between January and June 2011, seven separated children went missing and five remain unaccounted. Read Case Studies
The Body Shop collected its largest ever petition globally [6.8 million signatures in 50 countries] during the campaign. Launched in July 2010, it was submitted to the UN in September 2011. Over 165,000 people in Ireland signed the petition, calling on Government to:
- Identify child victims and enforce laws to prosecute child traffickers;
- Provide child victims with the support they need to escape their traffickers and rebuild their lives;
- Implement the Irish Government’s National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings 2009-2012; and
- Ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
Lobbying Government to Ratify the Optional Protocol
On 21 July 2011, following the petition handover to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, a Government official gave the Alliance news that 'positive steps' would now be taken to ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
Ireland is one of only three countries in the EU not to have ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS A FORM OF SLAVERY
IT IS HAPPENING IN IRELAND. LET’S END IT NOW.
BE VIGILANT, CALL 1800 25 00 25 OR EMAIL BLUEBLINDFOLD@GARDA.IE
EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT THIS CRIME, VISIT WWW.BLUEBLINDFOLD.GOV.IE