To mark European Anti-Human Trafficking Day, Cork Against Human Trafficking joined forces with Human Trafficking Resources Northern Ireland to create a campaign which highlights trafficking on both sides of the border.
During the pandemic, we heard about different loopholes and ways to enter into Ireland. When restrictions in the south differed from the north, many crossed the border to fly on holidays or travel home for Christmas. These routes are also exploited by traffickers on a daily basis. Victims enter into Ireland via the north or south and are moved across the country, or moved to other parts of the UK and Europe.
A suspicious boat arrived in Dublin recently having travelled from Northern Ireland. A man was discovered on the boat, thought to be a victim of human trafficking. Authorities both sides of the border are working together to investigate the case. (Sunday Independent, 12th September, 2021) This is one example of how traffickers may manipulate the borders between Ireland and Northern Ireland to traffic people for exploitation.
Planes, trains, boats, cars, buses, trucks… Traffickers use every kind of transport to move victims for exploitation. No city, town or village is immune.
According to official figures, 38 people were identified as trafficking victims in Ireland last year. In Northern Ireland, 128 potential victims were identified. Unfortunately they are not truly reflective of the nature of human trafficking. Identification of victims is lacking both north and south - while things are slightly better in Northern Ireland, we are both failing victims. Children, in particular, are being failed - no children were identified as trafficking victims in Ireland in 2020 while in Northern Ireland, only 20 children were identified. The figures are likely much higher than that.
Thousands of individuals are trafficked through the North, South, East and West of the island of Ireland. Many stay here for a few weeks and months, many remain only a few days before being trafficked into the UK and Europe.
By knowing and understanding what human trafficking is, reporting any suspicious behaviour/activity and talking about trafficking - we can make a difference. We can identify more victims of human trafficking and offer them support and assistance. There is strength in numbers and we are dedicated to stopping human trafficking together
If you see anything suspicious please report it immediately to the authorities - it could save a life. To find out more about how to spot trafficking, visit this page.