Casi di sfruttamento sessuale di MSNA in Irlanda. GARDAÍ are investigating three cases of alleged sexual exploitation of Irish children under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act.

Yesterday gardaí confirmed the cases were among seven cases of children being involved in alleged trafficking so far this year.

The children in the other cases are foreign nationals, including some unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.

Mary Kenny, general manager, HSE Dublin South East, who works with separated minors seeking asylum, referred to the cases at a seminar in Dublin.

A total of 42 allegations of trafficking have been made so far this year. Last year there were 78 allegations made, of which 19 involved children.

Gardaí stressed that trafficking does not require the movement of children across borders.

The Child Trafficking and Pornography Act defines sexual exploitation as inducing or coercing the child to engage in prostitution or the production of child pornography, inducing or coercing the child to participate in any sexual activity which is an offence, or the commission of any such offence against the child.

Speaking at the Barnardos-organised seminar on separated children in foster care, Ms Kenny referred to the cases and said there were concerns over some adults claiming to be unaccompanied minors so as to gain easier access to the country.

She said this required age assessment, which was "not an exact science", with concerns that adults could be placed in child settings, such as residential centres and foster placements.

Ms Kenny also said the number of cases of proposed family reunification fell "dramatically" when DNA testing was introduced. She said this was "a very likely avenue for trafficking", with adults pretending to be a child’s parents.

Ms Kenny said that the Equity of Care model now being operated by the HSE, following the closure of hostels which had been places of care for separated minors, was "a work in progress".

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