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Anti-human trafficking training to be piloted with Irish air crews
Irish airline crews, airport ground staff, port staff and other transport workers are to be offered training to spot victims of trafficking and offer them an escape from pimps and traffickers under a pilot project being developed by the Immigrant Council of Ireland and its four European partners in the ‘Stop Traffick!’ Initiative.
The ‘Stop Traffick!’ project will see air crews being offered a half day training course in an effort to identify women and girls being brought Ireland for sexual exploitation.
The Immigrant Council, with the support of the European Commission, have developed this project as recent figures confirm that children now account for almost half of all trafficking victims in Ireland.
Nusha Yonkova, Anti Trafficking Coordinator of the Immigrant Council said:
“As a frontline organisation the Immigrant Council has assisted 50 victims of sex-trafficking, all tell a similar story of being tricked into coming to Ireland with promises of a new life only for reality to dawn when they meet their pimp in the arrivals hall at our airports.
Immediately passports, travel documents and money are taken and often within hours victims are working in a brothel.
Observant cabin crew, ground staff or customs officer may offer the only chance of escape. This is particularly important as international reports have found that Ireland is weak when it comes to identifying victims.
We will pass on experience we have already achieved through training initiatives with the Gardaí and with trade unions which are partners with us on the Turn Off the Red Light campaign to end demand for trafficking by targeting demand, or the buyers of sex.”
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland added:
“Our airports are the main points of access through which traffickers bring their victims to Ireland.
The image of people arriving in containers or as stowaways simply does not always apply, trafficking victims are more likely to be sitting on our flights and go through our airports like any other passengers.
This is an opportunity to train crews and staff to be alert to human trafficking, and to encourage them to look for signs of nervousness, uncertainty or of someone being controlled either on a flight, a ferry or in a terminal.”
In the coming weeks the Immigrant Council will be in contact with airlines, ferry companies and Irish airport and port authorities with a view to organising the first of the training days.
Latest Government figures confirm that 48 people were identified as trafficked in Ireland in 2012, of which 23 were children and most were sexually exploited.