Limerick Gardaí find suspected trafficked sex workers in premises

GARDAÍ this Monday (June 24) said they had identified a number of properties in Limerick where they located a number of women they suspected were trafficked to the Treaty City earlier this month for illegal sex services.

“A number of potential victims of human trafficking were spoken to at the locations. A number of females were identified as working in the sex industry and all were provided with information on support organisations and information on the Organised Prostitution Investigation Unit and the Human Trafficking Investigation and Coordination Unit,” a Garda spokesman said.

“A number of premises were inspected as part of a multi-agency approach in counties Dublin, Clare, and Limerick. The agencies involved consisted of Gardaí attached to the Garda National Protective Services Bureau and The Garda National Immigration Bureau and The Workplace Relations Commission.”

Officers attached to the force’s Human Trafficking Investigation and Coordination Unit also maintained a presence at Shannon Airport throughout the previous week as part of the crackdown on human traffickers as part of an international police investigation ‘Operation Global Chain’ involving Europol, Interpol, and Frontex.

Gardaí were also present at Cork and Dublin airports, Connolly Train Station, as well as Dublin Port, raising awareness about the human sex trafficking industry in Ireland.

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Between June 3 and 9, Gardaí also targeted individuals involved in “forced criminality and forced begging in order to detect and disrupt organised crime groups exploiting vulnerable victims for financial gain”.

“The joint activities focused on detecting and disrupting organised crime groups involved in trafficking of human beings, in particular child trafficking, sexual exploitation, forced criminality, and forced begging.”

Detective Superintendent Derek Maguire of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau said: “The joint days of action demonstrates the ability of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau and our international colleagues from over 40 countries to combat the organised crime gangs that target the most vulnerable in our society.”

Gardai said they were working with “law enforcement partners” in “identifying new victims so they can also be removed from harm”, and appealed “to any person who may be the victim of human trafficking or sexual exploitation to come forward and speak with them, either at a local Garda station, or to call the Garda Confidential Phone number on 1800 666 111”.

When asked by the Limerick Post how many premises were inspected by Gardaí locally, and how many, if any, of the females spoken to were underage, a Garda spokesman said “no further information is available on this operation”.