David Lohan, author of At Freedom’s Crossroads

Marking EU Anti-Trafficking Day 2022, an event titled “Making Sense of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery”, was held at St Peters, North Main Street, Cork, on Monday, 17th October. An awareness raising event, speakers included those working to combat human trafficking as well as the launch of a new book by David Lohan, titled At Freedom’s Crossroads: Making Sense of Modern Slaver.

“The statistics are stark: The latest global estimates put the number of victims of modern slavery globally on any given day at 50 million persons.” According to the MC for the event, John McGeady, “Meanwhile, Ireland has been recognized as a country of origin, transit and destination in human trafficking, and more than 500 victims have been identified in Ireland since 2013. However, it is estimated that that is only a fraction of the true number of victims.” John McGeady, who is Justice Officer (Advocacy and Campaigns) for the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles, based in Ballintemple, Cork, noted that human trafficking was “not limited to women and girls” but “certainly has a strongly gendered dimension.”

During the course of the event, attendees were addressed by a number of experts working to combat human trafficking in Ireland including Mary Crilly, director of the Sexual Violence Centre Cork and a founding member of Cork Against Human Trafficking; JP O’Sullivan is Networks & Communications Manager with the anti-trafficking NGO, MECPATHS; and Mia De Faoite, a survivor-activist with 10 years’ experience working as a campaigner and policy advisor on the issue of commercial sexual exploitation.

JP O’ Sullivan, who advocates for child protection from trafficking for exploitation, noted his concern about the zero-levels of detection of Child Trafficking victims in Ireland over the past number of years, despite heightened levels of vulnerability and increased levels of global detection. O’ Sullivan re-iterated the concerns of the US State Department and those of front-line professionals who feel un-armed to respond to the issue here in Ireland.

The event also saw the launch of the new book by David Lohan, At Freedoms Crossroad’s: Making Sense of Modern Slavery. David Lohan, an author, researcher and engineer who has spent many years researching human trafficking, explained how slavery is inextricably linked to certain services or crops, and that it is customers for these services and crops who are giving rise to slavery

Lohan’s book, At Freedoms Crossroad’s provides an overview of the issue of slavery and human trafficking past and present. It considers some key questions including: What is slavery? What does it mean to be a slave? Why does slavery exist today? And what can be done to end it?