Three men found trafficked into Cork to be sent home

Three men found trafficked into Cork to be sent home

Three men who were removed from two properties in north Cork on Sunday are expected to be repatriated to their home countries soon.

THREE men who were removed from two properties in north Cork on Sunday are expected to be repatriated to their home countries soon.

The men are believed to have been trafficked into Ireland in recent weeks and gardaí said they are currently being looked after in a safe environment.

However, it is expected that the men will not make any complaints against those behind the trafficking operation, which is suspected to be led by Eastern Europeans.

The three men were found during searches of properties in the Churchtown and Charleville areas on Sunday, after a tip-off from a relative of one of the men was received by gardaí.

Up to 20 people were interviewed by garda as part of the anti-trafficking operation.

No arrests have been made to date.

Gardaí also seized documentation during their searches and they will be analyzed to help progress the investigation.

The gang under investigation are suspected of trafficking people from Eastern Europe to work in industries in Ireland including farms and factories.

The discovery came just days ahead of World Anti Trafficking in Persons Day today.

In Cork, a sticker campaign has been organized by the Cork Against Human Trafficking group to take place today.

People are invited to share images of the stickers on social media with the hashtag #CorkSaysNo or #hiddeninplainsight.

JP O'Sullivan of the Mercy Efforts for Child Protection Against Trafficking within the Hospitality Sector (MECPATHS) said Ireland is currently facing big challenges in relation to its responsiveness to human trafficking.

He said: "The recently published US State Department Report has Ireland demoted to a watch list alongside countries including Cambodia, Vietnam, Uzbekistan... countries synonymous with poor access to human rights. The report outlines our failings in the area of human trafficking including an ongoing challenge with victim identification, prosecutions, victim support and services. 

"In Ireland, if a victim of trafficking is firstly identified, they are then housed in Direct Provision, an already vulnerable individual in an environment that may not be in a position to offer the specialised supports needed."

He added: "We see ongoing challenges with labour exploitation in the fishing and agriculture industries, we have been identified by the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) as 'not screening for child victims' and there continues to be a global recognition that Human Trafficking is the most rapidly developing industry in the world, generating €130 billion per year for those at the top."

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