By Ali Bracken - Sunday Independent - 09.07.2023 A senior hospital consultant is at the centre of a human trafficking and sexual exploitation investigation, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
The medical professional was arrested by specialist detectives as part of the lengthy and ongoing criminal probe. It is understood the suspect is accused of trafficking women into the Ireland for medical procedures. He was questioned on suspicion of trafficking several women into the country under false pretences before they were subsequently sexually exploited.
He was arrested on or around June 12 and was quizzed for several hours before he was released without charge. It is understood some of the women have given Gardaí statements while others have returned home, outside Europe.
Gardaí have not been able to trace all of the women.
The exploitation is alleged to be of a sexual nature, with the allegations made against the individual being treated “extremely seriously”, according to sources.
Detectives from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) are leading the inquiry. They are being helped by other agencies due to the nature of the alleged offences involved.
Gardaí are probing allegations that the hospital consultant was involved in bringing foreign women into the country under the guise of “goodwill”, after which the women were sexually exploited.
It is understood that devices seized could play a central part to the Garda inquiry. It is also being investigated if these women lived at a property connected to the medical professional on arriving in the country. Senior sources have told the Sunday Independent there may be “multiple” injured parties relating to the Garda investigations.
The inquiry is understood to have been launched after suspicions were raised at Dublin Airport around how a number of women from outside Europe were legally entering the State. Gardaí are understood to have taken a number of voluntary witness statements. “This is a very complex investigation, and this man is facing a number of very serious accusations,” one source said.
“The investigation has been ongoing for well over a year and the potential consequences for this man are severe if convicted.”
While the allegations relate to several women, Gardaí do not believe the man under investigation was operating as part of a wider network connected to other human trafficking crime gangs. Upon his arrest, the medic was detained at a Garda station in Dublin, where GNIB detectives quizzed him about the human trafficking and sexual exploitation allegations.
A secondary aspect of the investigation is focusing on offences under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998. This relates to images that were recovered on a device recovered from the man as part of the wider Garda inquiry.
Gardaí are trying to establish whether images discovered on the device are an offence under the Act. The consultant has denied all allegations. No finding of wrongdoing has been made against him at this stage. A file will now be prepared for the DPP. A garda spokesperson said: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on ongoing investigations.” If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact Dignity4Patients, whose helpline is open Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm.