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Children ‘being trafficked over Irish border’

By Brian Hutton

Child sex traffickers are using the Irish border as a gateway into the UK, a report has claimed.

Slave traders are switching their attention to the Irish Sea because of a security clampdown on so-called classic routes through airports and from France, it said.

Children as young as three years old are being bought and sold for sex, as domestic servants and for forced marriages.

The report by international child protection organisation Ecpat commended the UK for “notable efforts” in fighting child trafficking, but said Ireland had only made “some progress”.

Ecpat said Ireland was considered a destination for trafficked children as well as a transit country to the UK. Because of heightened security on other routes into the UK, the report said traffickers “are now looking to other points of entry, with the border crossing between Northern Ireland and the Republic being used, as well as the Ireland-Wales ferry crossings”.

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