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Trafficking children for financial gain should be covered by Human Trafficking Bill – Ó Snodaigh

7 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, speaking in the Dáil today, attempted to amend the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Bill 2007 to include an offence of trafficking children for the purpose of exploitation for financial gain. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the current description of trafficking offences does not make it illegal to traffic children for fraudulent welfare claims or for the purposes of exploitative adoption. He welcomed the acknowledgment of his concerns by the Minister and the Minister's commitment to explore addressing those concerns.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said today, "We want to extend the trafficking offences contained in the Bill to include trafficking for the purpose of 'exploitation for financial gain'. The exploitation that needs to be covered may not be limited to sexual exploitation, organ exploitation or employment exploitation, as currently contained in the Bill - particularly in the case of children.

"A child may be trafficked for the purpose of fraudulent welfare claims as evidenced in the case of Victoria Climbié. Or a child may be trafficked for the purposes of exploitative adoption as has allegedly been attempted in Chad. Just months ago a number of French nationals claiming to be an NGO were arrested by Chad's authorities while allegedly attempting to traffic hundreds of Chadian and Sudanese children from Darfur to France for what looks like the purpose of adoption. According to reports three hundred families had paid up to €2,400 each for the children. A major investigation is now underway with proceedings for child kidnapping and human trafficking likely."

Speaking after the conclusion of the debate Ó Snodaigh said, "Trafficking children for the purpose of financial gain through exploitation in whatever form that takes should be covered by the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Bill 2007. Ireland should build upon the existing definitions contained in international instruments and endeavour to anticipate the full spectrum of trafficking offences that can occur. I am happy that the Minister took note of my concerns and gave a commitment to explore further the possibility of addressing them. I hope to see a suitable amendment to the Bill come from the Government as it passes through the Seanad." ENDS

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