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Government response to human trafficking "reprehensible" and "inexcusable"

9 May, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, described as "reprehensible" the failure of the government to address the issue of human trafficking. Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his comments following the Primetime Investigates programme in to human trafficking and prostitution on RTE last night.

Calling for the ordinary business of the Dáil to be suspended this afternoon the Dublin South Central TD said the House needed to discuss "the reprehensible failure of this government to take adequate measures to address human trafficking."

"We need to introduce legislation making human trafficking a crime and provide for the prosecution of traffickers. We also need supports for the many women and children who are victims of trafficking including provisions for residency," he said.

He went on to describe as "inexcusable" the failure of the Minister for Health and Children to account for the numerous children who have gone missing from the care of the Health Service Executive some whom he argued may be victims of human trafficking. "I put parliamentary questions to the Minister last September which she panned off to the HSE and over 7 months later I have yet to receive a full response," he claimed.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh pointed out that Sinn Féin passed two substantial motions on these issues at its recent Ard Fheis and raised the issue at the EU Affairs Committee meeting back in October 2005. He also said that under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement that this state had an obligation to introduce measures to protect people from trafficking at least equivalent to those in effect in the Six Counties. ENDS

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