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Nigerian girl trafficked for s-x trade goes missing from HSE

Posted by DARA De FAOITE and RUADHÁN Mac CORMAICA on 2008/09/09 | Views: 2397 |

Nigerian girl trafficked for s-x trade goes missing from HSE


17-YEAR-OLD Nigerian girl who gardaí believe was trafficked into Ireland to work in the s-x industry has gone missing while in the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

17-YEAR-OLD Nigerian girl who gardaí believe was trafficked into Ireland to work in the s-x industry has gone missing while in the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The girl, who has been on bail since June when she was arrested during a raid on a suspected brothel in Kilkenny city, failed to turn up for a court appearance yesterday.

She had been placed into the care of the HSE on an interim care order and was due to appear before Kilkenny District Court yesterday.

At a previous hearing in July, Judge William Harnett said it appeared she was brought to Ireland "most likely for the purposes of putting her into slavery".

The child had no identification papers when she was found and there was no record of anyone of her name entering the State.

Her solicitor Michael Lanigan yesterday handed a report into the court outlining the reasons for his client's non-appearance.

Asked by Judge Harnett if she had disappeared and whether anyone knew of her whereabouts, Mr Lanigan told the court that no one who had been dealing with the girl has received communication or spoken with her.

The girl last appeared at Carlow District Court on August 15th when she was remanded on continuing bail and placed in the care of the HSE on a 28-day interim care order.

Solicitor Eugene O'Sullivan, acting for the HSE, asked the court yesterday to strike out an application for a care order for the girl to be placed into the full-time care of the HSE. Judge Harnett struck out the application and issued a bench warrant for the girl.

At an earlier hearing, Mr Lanigan said the girl had told gardaí she had three younger siblings in Nigeria, and "she was put under appalling moral pressure to look after them".

"There could be no better definition of 'at risk' than this young lady," he said.

The British authorities had records of an individual of the same name on their systems and fingerprints of the girl found in Kilkenny had been forwarded to them.

However, photographs of the two girls did not match.

Ruhama, an organisation that works with women involved in prostitution, said it was aware that the child was missing and sincerely hoped she could be traced and returned to a safe place.

A spokeswoman added: "The trafficking of women and girls into the s-x industry is a serious problem in Ireland, and while we welcome the recent legislation which makes human trafficking a criminal offence, we still need to ensure that adequate protection for the victims of this hideous crime is enshrined in law and fully resourced."

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