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J.P.O’Sullivan – Networks & Communications Manager
& Ann Mara- Education Manager (MECPATHS)
Trigger Warning’ if you or someone you know has been affected by sexual abuse please remember the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre 24-hour Helpline is open 1800 77 8888
In today’s podcast we will be talking to J.P.O’Sullivan, Network & Communications Manager and Ann Mara, Education Manager for MECPATHS.
MECPATHS (Mercy Efforts for Child Protection Against Trafficking with the Hospitality Sector) is a social justice project that was established in 2013 as a response to the growing prevalence of Human Trafficking and the exploitation of people for profit, in Ireland. Human trafficking is a growing activity and a major justice issue.
MECPATHS works in collaboration with private, statutory and non-statutory agencies such as An Garda Síochána and The Department of Justice & Equality to counter Human Trafficking. They deliver anti-trafficking training across the country for frontline professionals working in the areas of health, social work, law-enforcement and immigration.
Between 2009 and 2016, 512 victims of trafficking were identified, in Ireland. 334 of these victims were trafficked for sexual exploitation: 71% were female and 28% were children. The majority of these children were Irish. The Gardaí and those working to support victims believe these figures represent only the very tip of the iceberg of this hidden criminal activity.
It is vital that we all understand exactly what human trafficking is. We need to recognise that human trafficking is happening right here in Ireland and If we ever hope to save those trafficked, there are a number of things that need to happen urgently:
- To support victims that come forward or are rescued, specialist training is required for a dedicated person/s in all frontline areas (social workers, nurses, doctors, teachers, service industry staff, etc) in order to understand the complex needs of those individuals.
- We all need to understand what signs to look out for and who to report to, even if we only have suspicions or a gut feeling about a possible trafficked person/s.
- If you see something, do something!
Joyce, June & Paula