Published date: 
1 Feb 2011

Tuesday 1 February 2011: For immediate release

TraffickingLogoAllianceLogo ComhlamhLogo

Comhlámh, in association with the Children’s Rights Alliance and The Body Shop, proudly hosts, as part of its First Wednesday Debate Series, a public discussion on the motion: “Child trafficking - Whose problem to solve?” on Wednesday 2 February (tomorrow) in Dublin’s Bewley’s Cafe Theatre on Grafton Street, from 6.15pm until 7.45pm. 

Guest speakers, Muireann Ní Raghallaigh, Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Science, UCD, and Albert Llussa, Solicitor, with expertise on immigration issues will be speaking for and against the motion, which will be followed by an open Q&A session.  Alliance Chief Executive, Jillian van Turnhout, will chair the debate, and encourage audience participation.

Child trafficking is 21st century slavery.  It is thought that 1.2 million children and young people are trafficked globally every year for sexual exploitation and cheap labour.  The trafficking of children and young people is a largely hidden, highly complex and criminal activity that affects many jurisdictions, including Ireland.  Governments and society in general must do more to tackle this problem and protect children. 

Alliance Chief Executive, Jillian van Turnhout, says: “Recent research, compiled by the Alliance and ECPAT International, shows that Ireland is one of the poorest performing EU states in combating sex trafficking of children and young people.  Between 2000 and 2010, 512 separated children went missing from State care, and 440 of these have yet to be found.   It is feared that many of these vulnerable, missing children were trafficked. Though the Government has made some progress, we should NOT be languishing among the bottom EU states on this issue.  Child trafficking exists in Ireland, and I have heard heart-breaking stories, including stories of children being trafficked in Sligo, Kilkenny, Wexford, Dublin .  This is an issue at the heart of our communities, albeit underground.  But whose problem is it?  Should we leave it to other countries or do we get to grips with it in Ireland?  Come and join us and have your say.”

Entrance is free, but space is limited; admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Tea and coffee will be provided.


For latest information please contact:
Arthur Gaffney at: or visit

Notes to Editor:

  • Child trafficking is the third largest international crime (following illegal drugs and arms trafficking). The most common form of child trafficking is for sexual exploitation (accounting for 79% of all trafficking); children are also trafficked and exploited for labour, forced participation in criminal activities, forced marriage, illegal adoption and domestic servitude. 
  • Comhlámh is a member and supporter organisation open to anyone interested in social justice, human rights and global development issues. See
  • The Children's Rights Alliance is a coalition of over 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to secure the rights and needs of children in Ireland, by campaigning for the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It aims to improve the lives of all children under 18, through securing the necessary changes in Ireland's laws, policies and services.
    The partnership between The Body Shop and the Children’s Rights Alliance was initially launched in August 2009 with the launch of a specially developed “Soft Hands Kind Heart Hand Cream” in support of the ‘Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People’ three-year campaign, which has since been on sale in 12 stores throughout Ireland for €5.95 (£3.45 donated directly to campaigns and prevention projects against child trafficking in Ireland).
  • ECPAT is a global network of organisations and individuals working together to eliminate child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes
  • Missing children figure comes from: Jamie Smyth, ‘Number of missing children falls as new policies adopted’ The Irish Times, 10 January 2011.
Children's Rights Alliance