Thursday, March 8, 2001

Paul Cullen
Development Correspondent

Claims that Baltic women are forced into prostitution

Women from the Baltic states have been brought into Ireland and forced to work as prostitutes, a leading expert on slavery has claimed.

Prof Kevin Bales based his claim on a recent BBC report on the trafficking of women from the Baltic states to the UK and Ireland. While he admitted that Ireland is not currently a major target for people traffickers, Prof Bales said it was in danger of seeing an increase in trafficking and slavery.

According to the Garda Press Office, women are being brought into Ireland to work as prostitutes. However, a spokesman said he was not aware of any cases in which women were brought in against their will.

Prof Bales, an adviser to the UN working group on slavery, estimates that 27 million people worldwide are enslaved. In Dublin this week at the invitation of the aid agency, Trócaire, he called yesterday on Ireland to take a leadership role on the UN Security Council over the issue.

"Slaves are cheaper now than they ever were in human history. They are like biros; things that can be bought cheaply, used intensively for a limited period and then discarded easily."

Prof Bales is the main speaker at a meeting on "Slavery in the Modern Economy" organised by Tròcaire tonight. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Irish Film Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin.

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Created: March 11, 2001
Last modified: September 1, 2001
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