“The brutal stories of women who are kidnapped in other parts of the world, and sold into sex slavery here in Ireland is very hard to watch, but unfortunately, it happens on a daily basis,” said Senator Ardagh.
“The global nature of the international sex trade is visible in the wide range of nationalities of the thousands of women living in Ireland in this form of hell, with little hope of escape. Many have had no contact with their families since they left their home country and since moved around the world by their exploiters in an attempt to maximise profit.
“Frontline Irish NGO, Ruhama has been helping those affected by prostitution and trafficking to rebuild their lives through outreach services since 1989. In 2017, over 300 people affected by prostitution in Ireland sought support from those working with Ruhuma.
“Last year, the Oireachtas rightly passed the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 which finally criminalised the purchase of sexual services. This followed on from the 2008 Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act introduced by Fianna Fáil to criminalise the trafficking of people for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
“Despite these legislative developments, human trafficking is still as pervasive as ever. In fact, according to the United Nations earlier this year, human trafficking is the third largest crime worldwide. Therefore, it’s obvious that greater effort is needed from the Department of Justice, and An Garda Síochana, to stamp it out here in Ireland.
“I firmly believe that the full force of the law must come to bear on those caught trafficking people in Ireland, and on those that facilitate it by purchasing sexual services.
“There is no place for it in a modern Irish society, and I am calling on the Government to enhance resources and ensure no more women have to suffer at the hands of these depraved traffickers,” concluded Ardagh.