Social Justice Innovation


MECPATHS are pleased to announce the receipt of a Corporate LiveWire Award for Social Justice Innovation & Excellence 2021. The award follows a challenging year for many whose ways of working were altered due to Covid-19. The team at MECPATHS recognise the important role collaboration plays throughout the pandemic to ensure the work of the project continues and expands. With an increased extension of the project work, the close collaborations with The Gardaí and The Department of Justice remain key to the projects success.

The Corporate LiveWire Awards represent the pinnacle of business achievement, championing the best in their respective fields, the awards cover the most important sectors of business, from Finance advisories, Funding providers to Law firms and specialist advisory companies that deal with mergers and acquisitions. The culmination of the awards is the Global Award, covering businesses of every type that have proven their excellence throughout the year and years past.

What is Child Trafficking?


Child trafficking is defined as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt” of a child for the purpose of exploitation. This definition comes from the United Nations Palermo Protocol. A child is defined by the Palermo Protocol and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as any person under the age of 18. Trafficking is regarded as a form of modern slavery.

The trafficking of children is a process comprised of two distinct stages: the Act and the Purpose. This is the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or reception of persons, including the exchange or transfer of control over those persons … for the purpose of exploitation.”

The Means stage is not required for the definition of child trafficking. This is not to say that this stage does not occur for child victims, but the definition recognises that a child cannot give informed consent to his or her own exploitation, even if he or she agrees to travel or understands what has happened.

Download an overview of Trafficking in Children Defined in Irish Law here.

Major global hotel brands accused of profiting from Trafficking

Hotel brands owned by Hilton, Intercontinental and Best Western are among a number of leading global chains accused of profiting from sex trafficking.

In a landmark case that lawyers claim demonstrates “industry-wide failures” to prevent sex trafficking, it has been alleged that women and children were held captive, abused and sold for sex in their guest rooms across the US.

A total of 13 women have accused a dozen hotel groups of wilfully ignoring warning signs that sexual exploitation was taking place on their premises.

Read the full article here

MECPATHS provides awareness raising workshops, free of charge, for Hotels and Hospitality Groups who are committed to countering Child Trafficking in Ireland. To book your workshop, please contact

Ireland’s Ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

“The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD’s call for the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Protocol details important safeguarding measures for children and young people from offences including child trafficking, child abuse material (referred to in the Protocol as child pornography) and child prostitution”.

Read full release from The Children’s Rights Alliance here


Ireland: Poverty and social inequality leaves children at risk of sexual exploitation

A report issued by ECPAT International has outlined the challenges facing Ireland in 2018 which facilitate a growing risk of the sexual exploitation of children.

”Social inequality in Ireland is putting some children at greater risk of sexual exploitation – with Roma, migrant, refugee and Traveller communities more adversely affected. When income inequality remains high, children from vulnerable and marginalised groups are often denied fundamental human rights, such as access to housing, which exposes them to higher vulnerability and to different forms of violence, including sexual exploitation.” reads the report.

With Ireland continuing to fall behind in its national responsiveness to addressing Child Trafficking, ECPAT suggest “Overall, Ireland has a quite good legislative framework for the protection of children from sexual exploitation. However, the government could strengthen the legal structure even further. For example, by putting in place national complaint mechanisms that are sensitive to child victims, and taking measures that make it easier for victims to seek compensation.”

To access the full report, click hereECPAT International Report: Ireland

Kevin Hyland to succeed Professor Siobhán Mullally on European anti-trafficking committee

Kevin Hyland OBE has been elected as Ireland’s representative on the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) from next year.

Mr Hyland will succeed Professor Siobhán Mullally of UCC School of Law at the end of her second two-year term.

He was appointed as the UK’s first independent anti-slavery commissioner in November 2014 and received an OBE in 2015 for “services to combating human trafficking”.

Prior to this, he had a 30-year career as a police officer and was formerly head of the Metropolitan Police’s human trafficking unit.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “The election of Kevin Hyland to GRETA is a significant achievement and a tribute to his broad international expertise and experience in the area of human trafficking at national and international level.

“I am confident that he will make a substantial contribution to the important work of GRETA. I wish to extend my congratulations to Mr Hyland and wish him every success in this vital role.”

Every congratulations to Kevin from all at MECPATHS!

Original Article posted here

An International perspective on Ireland’s response to Human Trafficking

Over the past months, Ireland’s efforts to counter Human Trafficking have been placed under an International Spotlight. The US Department of State’s publication of The TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Report has highlighted the nations under-preparedness for the international crisis of Trafficking. As a result of Ireland’s limited response, the country has been downgraded to ‘Tier 2’ in the Departments Indicator scale.

“The Government of Ireland does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however it is making significant efforts to do so. The government made significant efforts to meet the minimum standards during the reporting period by collaborating in international investigations and increasing funding for victim services. However, these efforts were not serious and sustained compared to the efforts during the previous reporting period. The government has not obtained a trafficking conviction since the law was amended in 2013; it initiated only three prosecutions in 2017, and had chronic deficiencies in victim identification and referral. Therefore Ireland was downgraded to Tier 2”.

To download a copy of The TIP Report, please click here

Furthermore, the publication of a Europol Report ‘Criminal Networks involved in the Trafficking and Exploitation of Underage Victims in The European Union’, highlights the growing nature of Trafficking within Ireland and directly requests the Irish Government to respond to this International Crime. Director of Europol, Catherine De Bolle, confirms that vulnerable children are being identified and victimise by criminals who want to exploit them. Ireland is highlighted as a destination country for victims of Trafficking:

“Vulnerable boys and girls between the age of two and 17 years old are targeted by traffickers for different purposes, to be sexually abused in prostitution, pickpocket or steal from shops.. Only if all competent authorities work closely together can we effectively protect these minors, as exploited children in vulnerable situations deserve to be. Children do not decide for themselves, traffickers very often directly engage their families in the recruitment process or even just target orphans.”

As Ireland’s National response remains under-resourced, we continue to reach out to the hospitality sector in Ireland to engage with MECPATHS and help to raise awareness and grow staff-capacity. Each person can make a difference. To request further information on our work, please email us

MECPATHS at The World Meeting of Families

We are delighted to announce our presence at The World Meeting of Families in August. With an opportunity to have a presence at The RDS for the duration of the gathering, MECPATHS will reach out to many new supporters and meet with some of our existing partners during the course of the celebration.

We have also been invited to deliver a workshop at the Meeting, on Thursday 23rd August in Hall 7 at 10.30am: Human Trafficking: “An open wound on the body of contemporary society” (Pope Francis). Our Keynote speaker is Kevin Hyland OBE who will be joined by a survivor of Child Trafficking who will share her experience and explore how this time moulded her adult life. We will have an opportunity to share more about our work at MECPATHS and to deliver a Q&A session for attendees.

To find out more, please visit here