There are calls to enact legislation known as Fagin's Law to prosecute adults who get children to carry out crimes.
Named after the character in Oliver Twist, it could jail criminals who target children to do things like carry guns or drugs.
The government's special reporteur on child protection, Professor Geoffrey Shannon, said in his annual report to the Oireachtas that the legislation will target adults who commission children to commit crimes.
The report also calls for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised from 10 to 14.
"People like this who do exploit children knowing that they can be prosecuted for this just makes them a little more careful", says Child law specialist Catherine Ghent.
"If it discourages some of them from going into it then it would certainly be very welcome".