IRELAND IS BEING used as a destination for child sex slaves, according to the EU’s policing agency.
A new report by Europol shows that international criminal groups, particularly from Nigeria, are using established trafficking networks and the cover afforded by the migrant crisis to smuggle minors into northern European countries like Ireland for sale into the sex trade and other criminal enterprises.
The report details the testimony involved in more than 600 cases concerning the trafficking of underage victims within EU member states between 2015 and 2017.
It details the ‘particularly harmful’ EU crime networks of ‘large family clans’ which traffic children for the purposes of begging, criminality and sexual exploitation, with those clans operating in multiple countries at any one time and rotating their victims on a regular basis.
All told, 268 cases of trafficking with minor victims involved for the purposes of exploitation were documented, with 985 victims identified and 3,642 suspects detailed.
34 of those cases involved minor victims exclusively.
In the case of children, the role of the family is particularly stark, with people engaging in the trafficking and exploitation of their own children.
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The Irish man accused of being the world’s largest facilitator of [images of child sexual exploitation] has made his first appearance in a US court following his extradition.
Gardaí handed Mr Marques (33) over to the FBI at Dublin Airport on Saturday after his six-year legal battle against extradition came to an end in the Supreme Court last week.
Mr Marques, who holds the dual US and Irish citizenship but has lived in Ireland since childhood, is accused of renting out server space which was used to host a vast array of child abuse images and videos around the world. He is alleged to have made hundreds of thousands of euro from advertising and distributing the material.
He was first arrested in Dublin in 2013 following an international investigation involving the FBI, the Garda and Europol.
Mr Marques appeared in the in US District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland earlier on Monday. US magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan remanded him in custody until Wednesday when Mr Marques will enter a plea to the four charges against him.
Announcing the charges, prosecuting US Attorney Robert K. Hur thanked the Irish authorities for extraditing the accused.
“Criminals cannot hide on the dark web or in foreign countries. We will find them and bring them to justice. We are grateful to Irish authorities for their assistance to bring Eric Marques to the United States to face these charges.”
FBI Assistant Director Robert Johnson commented: “Today’s extradition of Eric Marques demonstrates that no matter where you are in the world, the FBI and it’s international law enforcement partners will be diligent in their efforts to hold you accountable for your criminal activity.”
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(c) Irish Times