First convictions for involvement in human trafficking handed down at midlands court

First convictions for involvement in human trafficking handed down at midlands court

First convictions for involvement in human trafficking handed down at midlands court. Image by sammisreachers from Pixabay

Minister of State for Civil and Criminal Justice, Hildegarde Naughton TD, has this evening welcomed the convictions handed down in Mullingar Circuit Criminal Court for involvement in Human Trafficking, the first convictions of this type in Ireland.

Two Nigerian nationals Alicia Edosa, 44, of The Harbour, Market Point, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, and 31-year-old Edith Enoghaghase of Meeting House Lane, Mullingar were found guilty of a series of offences relating to human trafficking, prostitution and money laundering on various dates between September 2016 and June 2018.

A 30-year-old man, Omonuwa Desmond Osaibovo, was also found guilty of money laundering offences.

The trial at Mullingar Circuit Court lasted almost six weeks and heard that four young women from a deprived background in Nigeria had been abused in an underhand way by the three accused.

Minister Naughton said, “Human trafficking is a particularly cruel crime, based on deception and exploitation of vulnerable people, and it is hidden. Due to its hidden nature, it is very difficult to detect and investigate and I would like to commend the members of An Garda Síochána for their hard work in investigating and obtaining the evidence necessary to secure convictions in this complex case.

“Ireland is committed to playing a strong role, both nationally and internationally in the fight against human trafficking. The verdicts handed down today are a welcome indication that our efforts are paying off.”

The Government recently approved plans for a revised National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to make it easier for victims of human trafficking to come forward and be supported. Minister Naughton also received approval to draft a general scheme of a Bill to put the new NRM on a statutory footing. The NRM provides a way for all agencies, both State and civil society, to co-operate, share information about potential victims, identify those victims and facilitate their access to advice, accommodation and support.

Minister Naughton added, “In addition to working proactively to combat human trafficking, we are working to improve the avenues available to victims of this horrible and exploitative crime to come forward and access the supports they need. The changes we propose making to the National Referral Mechanism acknowledge that, in addition to An Garda Síochána, other state bodies and NGOs have a role in identifying victims of human trafficking and linking them in with the various supports and services available.

“An Garda Síochána is excellent in its role as our competent authority for identifying victims but we know some victims, because of interactions they may have had with law enforcement officials in other countries, have a perception that police cannot be trusted. We want to be sure that every victim of trafficking who ends up in Ireland is identified and helped. That’s why we are proposing to provide a role for other State and non-state organisations in the identification of victims of trafficking.”

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