MECPATHS Meet The Minister For Justice

In support of the recent report issued by MECPATHS and our ongoing work, a report issued by EUROPOL, following The TIP report, has confirmed that Ireland’s efforts to counter Human Trafficking need to be escalated.

Ann and JP recently met with The Minister for Justice, Minister C. Flanagan, to reiterate the need to grow our consciousness as a nation and to remain vigilant in relation to the exploitation of human beings for the purpose of financial gain and exploitation. Their meeting was fruitful with Minister Flanagan acknowledging the importance of MECPATHS in the growing global challenge of trafficking.

Ann and JP had opportunity to meet with The USA Charge d’affaires in Dublin with the team who compile The TIP report, again encouraging Ireland to be more aware and responsive in relation to the national reality and challenge that is Human Trafficking.

We rest hopeful that our International neighbours’ spotlights will be responded to.

To access a national media piece on the growth of human trafficking in Ireland, please click here MECPATHS – Irish Times Article – 19.10.18

Trafficking in hotels: A survivor speaks

The first time Anneke Lucas heard about legislation designed to rescue human trafficking victims in hotels, she couldn’t help but think about how something like that could have helped her as a child.

“If I had seen the definition that said I was not a prostitute, that would have made a difference for me,” Lucas told NBC News. “I was the kind of child that wanted to get help but there was none.”

A pioneering Connecticut law aims to put signs explaining who a victim might be along with the phone number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline in every hotel lobby in the state.

Lucas, who says she survived five-and-a-half years of being tortured and raped at the hands of human traffickers as a child, believes if she had seen a sign that explained she was a victim — not a prostitute — in the many hotels she was taken to, it could have changed her life.

It was that realisation that propelled her to advocate for more states to pass similar laws.

Lucas, 53, began an online petition, asking that legislators work toward a similar bill in New York — a Mecca of tourism and the hotel industry — following Connecticut’s lead.

After receiving more than 54,000 signatures, she teamed up with New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who began drafting legislation that would make the signs mandatory in hotels, and would train hotel staff how to spot victims.


Paulin has been a longtime advocate for human trafficking awareness and has already helped to pass legislation that trained hospital staff in New York to recognise and report potential victims.

She told NBC News her passion for the issue came from years of advocating for victims of domestic violence. Paulin recalled how she had been in salons when hairdressers noticed bruises on the hairlines of their clients.

“We knew if a hairdresser saw a bruise they could talk about it and have cards available in ladies room and it was very helpful and continues to be helpful,” Paulin said.

When the hairdressers began training to recognise the signs of domestic violence, Paulin realised that kind of training could be applied to a multitude of other professions.

So after Lucas brought the idea to her office to increase awareness in hotels, Paulin knew she had to turn the idea into a reality.


Paulin’s legislation, which is still in the works, would include mandatory training of staff members as well as informative signs in hotels, motels and inns in New York state.

“One thing we always worry about is that pimps are very clever, and they might find a way of avoiding hotels [with the signs],” Paulin said. “But if there’s uniformity they can’t avoid all the hotels.”

Polaris, an anti-trafficking advocacy group, recorded more than 1,400 cases of trafficking in hotels between December 2007 and February 2015. During that time, more than 1,800 victims were identified in hotels.

The group says its statistics are self-analyzed and do not represent the full scope of the issue.

Out of 26,727 calls made to the Human Trafficking Hotline in 2016, more than 7,500 calls reported human trafficking.

According to the hotline and Polaris’ data, New York experienced the fifth-most trafficking out of any state behind California, Texas, Florida and Ohio.

More than 4,500 of the calls made came from victims or survivors themselves, according to the organisations.

Related: Flight Attendants Train to Spot Human Trafficking

While the majority of trafficking is of a sexual nature, according to Polaris, a small portion of those who are trafficked in hotels are labor trafficking victims, meaning they are forced into work in order to repay a debt.

Paulin said her legislation, if passed, would only be aimed at victims of sex trafficking, and in addition to posting signs, would teach the staff what to look for when they suspect a victim is on the premises.

According to Paulin, hotel staff would be trained to notice warning signs including: Intimidation of another person from someone who is obviously overbearing; a noticeable difference in age between two guests who might not look related; tattoos that declare a person is property; young people who come to a hotel repeatedly with different adults.


In order for the proposed legislation to work, Paulin said hotels, motels and inns in New York would need to get on board.

Original article appearing in NBC News: Click here to view

EU Anti Trafficking Day

October 18th 2018 marks EU Anti Trafficking Day. At MECPATHS we will mark the day in a number of ways- joining The AHTU for a film screening of ‘The Price of Sex’ and we will also join The A21 Walk which is making its Irish debut this year. There are many ways each of us can mark the day but the most important thing is, to mark it. There are millions of people trapped in worlds of slavery and human trafficking around the globe and around our communities each day. As we work to counter Human Trafficking, we ask people to raise their voices… to have conversations about trafficking and to keep those awaiting rescue, in our thoughts. Ireland continues in its daily challenge of rescuing the most vulnerable from incidents of abuse and harm.. we can all do something to alleviate their hurt, raising awareness is just one…

World Meeting of Families Workshop Video

If you would like to experience the MECPATHS/APT workshop from The World Meeting of Families 2018, it is now available to view online. Listen to Kevin Hyland OBE explore worlds of Modern Day Slavery and discuss his experience of this challenge which rests around us in the world. Maya, a survivor of child trafficking outlines her experience and her survival of worlds of exploitation.

Click here to view

RTE Radio 1 Interview

With thanks to Carole Coleman from the This Week programme on RTE Radio 1 who spoke to JP O’Sullivan, MECPATHS and Sarah Marr, PREM Group about the efforts by hotels to combat human traffickers using the hospitality sector and how MECPATHS are educating hospitality staff to recognise the signs of trafficking.

To listen back to the interview, please click here

Contact us for more information or to book


Research Launch

On Thursday 6th September, MECPATHS launched a research report, undertaken by JP O’ Sullivan. The report explores the challenges of Human Trafficking and provides a situational analysis of the hospitality sector whilst outlining the limited responsiveness available within Ireland. JP has called for an increased awareness in Ireland, an exploration of pre-crisis mobilisation and a resolution from Ireland to challenge the current environment of under-preparedness.

The research was launched by Kevin Hyland OBE. Kevin was the former first Independent Anti Slavery Commissioner in The UK and also Head of The Anti-Trafficking Unit of The London Metropolitan Police. Kevin has recently joined ChildFund Ireland where he brings a wealth of experience and expertise.

We were very happy to be joined on the night by Det. Sgt. Claire McKeon (HTICU), Paul Gunning (AHTU Dept. Justice), representatives from the Congregation, Voluntary and Education sector along with our MECPATHS’ volunteers and a wide gathering of community members.

To download a copy of the report, please click MECPATHS 2018 Report JP

JP’s launch address is also available to read JP Notes

LMFM Radio

With thanks to Gerry Kelly, LMFM, for such a warm welcome on Thursday 30th August. Gerry took time to speak with JP about the work of MECPATHS and the increasing challenges which modern day Ireland presents to us all. As citizens of Ireland, we have a collective responsibility to ensure all children are safe.

To listen back to the interview, please click here

Contact us for more information or to book

Kevin Hyland O.B.E. joins MECPATHS for WMOF

MECPATHS were extremely proud to be part of The World Meeting of Families 2018 at The RDS (Royal Dublin Society) during the gathering of families from all around the world.

A unique opportunity to speak with parents, community leaders, community stakeholders and law enforcement offices, the 3-day programme additionally presented us with a wonderful platform to deliver a workshop in partnership with APT.

We were joined by Kevin Hyland OBE who was the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and has recently joined ChildFund Ireland as their CEO. Kevin’s vast experience of working to counter Modern Slavery provided a strength of understanding for many of the 700 attendees who were not aware of the extend of Human Trafficking, nor of its presence here in Ireland which was framed by Ann Mara at the workshop.

The workshop provided a platform also for us to introduce ‘Maya’, a survivor of child-trafficking. Maya, now an adult, detailed her early years trapped in cycles of abuse and control. An extremely eloquent young person, Maya’s presence provided all attendees with an injection of reality which many of us will never encounter. We were extremely grateful to her for sharing her story and for the hard work she undertakes to help prevent others being trapped.

Thank you to all the attendees and MECPATHS Volunteers who gave of their time by attending.


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

Ireland has been downgraded to a tier 2 country

A US State-Department report reveals Ireland has been downgraded to a tier 2 country, meaning it is no longer deemed to be meeting the minimum standards required.

The Trafficking in Persons review outlines ongoing shortcomings in the treatment of victims here and chronic deficiencies in identification.

In response, the Immigrant Council of Ireland says it is grave news to hear that Ireland is failing to meet even the minimum standards required.

It says it has long been concerned that asylum-seekers here cannot be identified as victims of trafficking, meaning many are not able to access the supports they are entitled to. Read the full article here