Thirty one 'trafficked women' sought help last year says Immigrant Council
Thirty one suspected trafficked women sought help last year, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
Potential victims were from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.
Catherine Cosgrave, legal services manager with the Immigrant Council, said: "Of the 31 women who sought the protection and support of our frontline services and independent law centre, 11 were new cases - making the year the second busiest since we started work in this area a decade ago.
"Clients need assistance in terms of being officially recognised as a victim of trafficking, immigration and visa issues, asylum applications as well as access to supports to restart their shattered lives.
"Above all we must ensure that women and girls removed from the clutches of criminal gangs are not themselves treated as criminals.
"With women from four continents seeking our services it is clear that Ireland is a destination country for criminal networks with a global reach and we need laws and procedures in place which will jail the guilty while at the same time ensure that their victims are protected and supported."
Brian Killoran, chief executive of the Council said sex trafficking is a reality in Ireland which cannot be ignored.
"A key moment has arrived in ensuring we have best practice in terms of responding to this crime.
"In the coming week the Oireachtas will resume its debate on sex-buyer laws which will smash the business model allowing organised crime to pocket millions.
"Together with every frontline agency working with victims of sex trafficking in Ireland we fully support the laws and again call on the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, to make them a reality before the general election."
On Thursday a Dublin conference about legal intervention for victims will hear from the UK's anti-slavery commissioner Kevin Hyland and human rights barrister Parosha Chandran.