Speaking after attending an anti-Human Trafficking event in Brussels this morning Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said:
“This was an eye opening experience for myself and many of those attending the event to the stark reality of Human trafficking. Listening to speakers paint a vivid picture of the cruelty and humiliation that victims suffer was mind-numbing.
"The extent to which this vile trade has become a major problem across the western world is hard to imagine and Ireland has not escaped its impact. Every year people are being brought illegally into Ireland in order to maximise the profits of unscrupulous gangs. Most of the people trafficked are forced to work for little or no pay and are exploited in the sex industry.
“It is important that the issue of human trafficking is addressed and in order to do so we need more co-operation between the Police Services, Immigration Services, Departments of Health and the Departments of Justice across Europe.
“In Ireland there needs to be a co-ordinated approach across the island if we are to successfully halt this form of human slavery. Policing is key to resolving the problem and there needs to be a harsher approach against those who not only exploit these unfortunate people for financial gain but also those who use the people for sexual gratification.
"I congratulate brave people like Denise Charlton from the Immigrant Council of Ireland who do sterling work on behalf of immigrant and strive to stamp out all forms of exploitation against women and particularly the modern day slavery which is Human Trafficking.
"I thank Mikael Gustafsson MEP, Chair of the Womens Rights Committee in the European Parliament for his efforts to ensure that in the fight to eradicate this activity, that EU Legislation is strengthened."