Front-Line Professionals including Social Workers, Educators, Medical Staff & Management and those working in the Hospitality and other Services Sectors are amongst those most likely to encounter a victim of trafficking through their day-to-day work. Whilst many of the Professionals with whom MECPATHS works, are well placed to identify victims, quite often they are under-resourced to respond effectively to what they are seeing. MECPATHS supports a wide-range of Front-Line Professionals to be equipped to not only “Know It and See It” but to “Say It”, to respond effectively and efficiently.
Whilst we recognise that the hospitality and services sectors are in no way responsible for Child Trafficking, we believe they can have a key role to play in helping protect children.
Hospitality staff are amongst those professionals most likely to encounter a victim of child trafficking and Traffickers can take advantage of the privacy and anonymity that hotels and accommodation providers offer, using these unwitting venues to sexually exploit children.
Many hotels have taken a proactive approach to counter Child Trafficking by prioritising training for their staff so they can be equipped with the tools to recognise and safely report suspicions of Child Trafficking.
When hotel staff and management are trained to be able to identify indicators of child trafficking, they have the ability to save a child from exploitation and slavery.
Social workers have a fundamental role to play in the identification of child victims of trafficking.
In Ireland, child victims of trafficking are usually referred to the mainstream child protection services by An Garda Síochána and some are identified by the mainstream social work service or the service for unaccompanied minors. The provisions and full protection of the Childcare Act are applied to identify child victims of trafficking. All children who are identified as victims of trafficking are subject to a full care order and are therefore awarded a guardian.
Where an unaccompanied child is identified as an alleged victim of trafficking he/she will be immediately referred to the Social Work Team for Separated Children seeking Asylum.
The security sector has a unique contribution to make to the fight against modern slavery. The nature of the work means that security personnel gain access to restricted areas; they capture evidence and they are especially primed to notice issues around safety and criminality.
This sector could have a significant impact on the number of vulnerable people identified and supported, cases reported, and perpetrators prosecuted. This starts with an awareness of the signs to look out for.
The vital connectivity that airlines provide delivers tremendous social and economic benefits. However, it can also be misused by traffickers as a means of transporting victims.
Customer-facing employees working in the airport environment including check-in and gate agents, security screeners and cabin crew can be an important source of intelligence when they are able to spot the signs of trafficking.
Health care providers are well-positioned to identify victims of child trafficking, including within General Practitioner Practices, Accident & Emergency centers and in Maternity Hospital settings.
We Work With
We partner with numerous Tourism Training Colleges and Universities throughout Ireland. These partnerships demonstrate a growing recognition of the importance Anti-Child Trafficking training across the hospitality industry. They also illustrate a decisive commitment to the future leaders of this industry in making sure they are well equipped to help safeguard children as best they can. MECPATHS’ work with these colleges ensures adherence to international best practice when it comes to the hospitality industry’s global efforts to counter Child Trafficking.
Identifying the unique educational opportunity to support the learning of students in Tourism Training Colleges and Universities, MECPATHS developed a bespoke suite of learning materials in alignment with the existing curriculum.
University College Cork
MECPATHS has worked with The School of Applied Social Studies since 2019, providing workshops on Child Trafficking to Masters in Social Work students. 2022 saw the first-ever delivery of this module across the disciplines of Social Work, Business and Law. Given that prevention of and protection from trafficking necessitates inter-agency, multi-sectoral responses, this workshop was designed to facilitate collaborative, interactive and shared learning for postgraduate social work, business and law students. MECPATHS continues to recognise the growing importance of working in such close collaboration with one of the longest-running Social Work training programmes in Ireland.
Since 2021, MECPATHS has partnered with the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education to deliver the first ever workshops on Child Trafficking to students in first and third years. This partnership has grown extensively through the commitment and passion of Froebel Staff and Autumn 2023 welcomes the launch of a formalised partnership with The University, MECPATHS and Froebel Department.
MECPATHS co-developed and facilitated an accredited module on Human Trafficking for students undertaking a Masters in Social Science (Rights & Policy) from 2019. From 2021, the module was made available to postgraduate students of law, international justice, criminology, gender, diversity and inclusion. MECPATHS delivered this module in partnership with social policy and social work educators from the Department of Applied Social Studies, educators from the Department of Law (MU), and the Former Head of An Garda Síochána's Human Trafficking Unit. This module helped to introduce students to the policy, practice perspectives and debates around Human Trafficking.
Hospitality & Tourism Training Colleges
MECPATHS partners with numerous Hospitality & Tourism Training Colleges throughout Ireland. These partnerships demonstrate a growing recognition of the importance of Anti-Child Trafficking training across the hospitality industry. They also illustrate a decisive commitment to the future leaders of this industry in making sure they are well equipped to help safeguard children as best they can. MECPATHS’ work with these colleges ensures adherence to international best practice when it comes to the hospitality industry’s global efforts to counter Child Trafficking.
Identifying the unique educational opportunity to support the learning of students in Tourism Training Colleges, MECPATHS developed a bespoke suite of learning materials in alignment with existing curricula. It works with students in:
Shannon College of Hotel Management, Technological University Dublin, South East Technological University, Technological University Munster and
Griffith College Dublin.
Since 2021, MECPATHS has formed new partnerships and delivered workshops to Master of Social Work and Education students at the following universities: Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, and University College Dublin.