Wednesday 16 October 2019

Investigation into string of 'bogus marriages'


Anne Marie O'CONNOR

IMMIGRATION officers in Wexford are investigating a string of 'bogus marriages', where women have been trafficked into the country by criminal gangs.

Sgt. Kevin Foran, who heads up the Wexford Immigration Unit in Rosslare Harbour, says human trafficking into Ireland is 'widespread' and the Wexford immigration team has several ongoing investigations.

'Organised criminal gangs are bringing people into the country,' said Sgt. Foran.

'People are being abused in the worst possible way,' he said, adding that many women are lured with a promise of work, and find themselves forced into prostitution.

It's a story echoed in Wexford Women's Refuge. It has had at least six cases in the last three years of women trafficked into Wexford.

'We had one Pakistani woman who lived here with us for three months. She was put out on the street and left to wander with €1 in her pocket,' said Betty Doyle.

And a Nigerian woman presented at the refuge after being 'brought to Wexford on the pretence of a better life for herself but was then pimped out by Polish guys here'.

'One woman told me she was drugged while three men used her,' said Betty, who believes that there are 'prostitution rings all over Wexford'. ' The Nigerian woman came to us, after she escaped when a man tried to strangle her.'

Wexford Senator, Lisa McDonald has also spoken out about a Wexford based 'ring', trafficking women for forced marriages.

'This is definitely happening in Wexford,' she said, adding that her offices were aware of at least one woman who fled to Wexford Women's Refuge to escape her predicament.

'I was shocked to learn this was happening, and the sooner these things are legislated for the better. These are serious human rights violations, and people in Wexford need to be vigilant, and keep their eyes open to what's happening in their communities.'

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