Belfast Telegraph

Six children forced into sex trade

Six Irish children were among 57 alleged victims of human trafficking reported to gardai last year, it has emerged.

New figures show almost two thirds of the men, women and children were moved around the country to work in the sex industry.

Another 13 were victims of labour exploitation, two of both sex and labour, and the background of five others unknown.

Thirteen were minors and seven of those - including the six Irish youngsters - had been forced in to the sex trade.

Ruhama, which supports women affected by trafficking and prostitution, warned the figures were just the tip of the ice berg.

Gerardine Rowley, spokeswoman, said: "This report shows the growing problem people human trafficking is, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.

"Because of the very clandestine nature of it all it is so underground. Victims are so controlled and are fearful."

The annual report of the anti-human trafficking unit in the Department of Justice revealed 48 of the alleged victims were woman and nine were men - three who had been forced in to sexual exploitation.

The majority - 29 - were from Africa, while nine were from the EU, eight were Asian, three were from Latin America, and two from European countries outside of the EU.

Ms Rowley raised concerns over the immigration status of the victims, with 20 locked in the asylum process and just one had been granted protection from removal under the administrative arrangements.

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