From today's Times:
A 17-YEAR-old girl, whom gardaí believe was trafficked into Ireland to work in the sex industry, has been remanded on continuing bail.
The girl, who is from Nigeria and cannot be named for legal reasons, is charged with failing to produce a passport or another form of identification.
Now maybe this is a product of my wild imagination, but I can think of a pretty good reason why a person who had been trafficked into the country might not have a passport or another form of identification. A few pretty good reasons, in fact.
The Government has repeatedly justified its refusal to legislate for the rights of trafficking victims on the basis that the Garda Síochána treat all such persons "sympathetically", "with respect and dignity" and so on. Yes, that's exactly how I would describe bringing criminal charges against someone for not making sure they had their identity papers with them when they were trafficked.
The threat of prosecution, deportation and other such punitive measures is a very effective way to discourage trafficking victims coming forward. This is a no-brainer. It's so obvious that even Michael McDowell as Minister always insisted (not in so many words, admittedly) that it didn't happen. And yet that's precisely what's happening right now in Carlow-Kilkenny.
It's a disgrace and a scandal and I cannot understand why the migrant and women's rights sectors are not all over it.