If you suspect a case of human trafficking, please call Crimestoppers: 1800 25 00 25

Our History

MECPATHS (Mercy Efforts for Child Protection Against Trafficking with the Hospitality Sector) was established in 2013 by the Sisters of Mercy. The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy was founded in 1831 by Catherine McAuley whose great passion in life was the care of vulnerable women and children through healthcare and education. MECPATHS follows very closely in that tradition as we aim to protect women and children from being trafficked for sexual exploitation. Although based in Ireland, we keep informed about the work of the Sisters of Mercy around the world who work to counter trafficking and continue to be ever-linked through the Mercy International Association, which has its headquarters in Baggot Street, Dublin.

Our project team has 2 part-time employees who are supported by MECPATHS founding member and consultant Sr. Mary Ryan along with a country-wide volunteer network whose daily work on the ground delivers immediate change. Meet the team here

What does MECPATHS do?

MECPATHS collaborates with the hospitality sector in Ireland to raise awareness around child sex-trafficking and to empower hotel management and staff to help prevent this crime.

Hotel staff are amongst those professionals likely to encounter a victim of sex trafficking as traffickers can seek to take advantage of the privacy and anonymity of hotels.  While the hotel industry is in no way responsible for this exploitation, hotel staff can play a key role in the fight against this form of slavery.  When staff are trained to recognise possible signs of this abuse, hotels are in a position to alert the authorities to suspected cases and play their part in countering sex trafficking.

Please contact MECPATHS to arrange a time for this presentation to be delivered to your hotel staff and management.  This will help ensure all staff are aware of the issue, know how to recognise the signs, and are clear on the reporting procedures should a case be suspected.  There is no financial cost to hotels for this presentation.[/vc_column_text]

What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is modern day slavery. It is the trade in and exploitation of human beings for profit and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labour or commercial sex act.

Sex Trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. It often affects the most vulnerable, whether it is the homeless teenage girl living on the streets of Dublin; the Syrian woman fleeing to Europe as a refugee or the child brought to Ireland from Nigeria with false promises of education and employment. Sex trafficking continues to be the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and much work must be done at a global and domestic level in order to eradicate this crime.

Each year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries all over the world. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars in profit per year, second only to drug trafficking, as the most profitable form of transnational crime.

Some Global Statistics:

(Source: International Labour Organisation Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Geneva, September 2017)

  • Human Trafficking makes $150.2 billion profit per year ($99 billion from sex trafficking)
  • At any given time in 2016, 40.3 million people were in modern slavery
  • 1 in 4 victims is a child
  • Main Types of Exploitation: Sexual & Labour
  • In Europe, 80% of trafficking victims are women and girls, the majority of whom are trafficked for sexual exploitation.

Overview

Is sex trafficking an issue in Ireland?

In Ireland, as in the many other countries throughout the world where we live and minister, human trafficking is a growing activity and a major justice issue. The importance of anti-trafficking training is currently being recognised and implemented 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.

If you suspect a case of child sex trafficking, this must be reported to An Garda Síochána (Crimestoppers: 1800 25 00 25) in compliance with legal reporting requirements. 

It is a matter for each hotel to formulate its own reporting procedures and the manner in which it will support staff members in complying with their legal obligation to make reports.