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23 women trafficked into country helped by Immigrant Council of Ireland last year

The Immigrant Council of Ireland helped 23 victims of human trafficking last year.

According to its new Impact Report, all were women and 20 were trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

Of the remaining three victims, two were trafficked for domestic slavery and one for labour-exploitation.

Brian Killoran, the chief executive of the council, says human-trafficking in Ireland is increasing:

"I think what we've seen in Ireland over the last couple of years is a steady rise in the number of detections of trafficking situations.

"It is an area of concern, definitely, and one which we are endeavouring to raise with the Government on a constant basis.

Today in Ireland, we have yet to convict a person responsible for trafficking somebody into Ireland. That's a huge gap in our response to this international crime.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland also supported 25 people who were racially abused last year.

Mr Killoran says racism is more prevalent than the figures indicate.

"While we did support 25 cases last year we believe that that is massively under-representative of the type of issues that are out there. It is an undercurrent that needs to be addressed.

"Some of the things that [happened to people] we support are of the most serious nature, we have assaults, we have attacks on people's property, attacks in their home. We have attacks [where] children are present. it's very dangerous and it's very problematic."

There was also a 17% increase in general helpline queries, with 3,500 received over the 12 months.