Additional support needed for victims of human trafficking in Ireland, IHREC says
"Trafficking in Ireland remains a pervasive crime."
Victims of human trafficking in Ireland need the State to introduce a new National Referral Mechanism so they can be identified, released from their exploitation, and supported in dealing with trauma - according to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC).
The IHREC, Ireland's National Rapporteur on the Trafficking of Human Beings, made these recommendations as part of a report to the Council of Europe on Monday.
The report notes "some positive progress" - such as Ireland’s first prosecutions for trafficking offences in June - but says trafficking victims remain unlikely to be identified or receive supports and can be left vulnerable to further abuses.
Trafficked People in Ireland Need Faster State Action, Council of Europe Told @_IHREC Stresses Urgent Need for a Modern National Referral Mechanism @CoE_Trafficking #EUAntiTraffickingDay #EndHumanTrafficking https://t.co/0i6KoDmL42 pic.twitter.com/T5Dg8eJf6w
— Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission (@_IHREC) October 18, 2021
IHREC says that Ireland needs to make significant progress on several issues including a new National Action Plan to prevent and combat human trafficking, as well as identify child victims and house victims in gender-specific accommodation.
It says that the accommodation provided to victims needs an "urgent overhaul and cannot be treated as a secondary issue in the process of winding down the system of Direct Provision."
In light of all the evidence of the gender-specific nature of trafficking to Ireland, it notes that a specialised shelter for victims is especially urgent.
Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission said:
“While it’s important to acknowledge that positive steps are being taken, it’s clear that Ireland is starting from a low base in tackling human trafficking and that, as a country, we have a long way to go.
“Trafficking in Ireland remains a pervasive crime. Its victims are often hidden but should not be faceless. They are daughters, sons, parents and grandparents. They are people exploited while simply seeking better lives for themselves and their families. We owe to them an approach and system which can see them, free them and offer them safety.
“In our independent role as National Rapporteur, we have made our recommendations for specific actions and decisions that the State can take to identify and support victims and send a clear message that human trafficking in any form will not be tolerated.”
Ireland was ranked the second worst state in the Europe for combatting human trafficking in July.
It remains one of only two EU States (Ireland and Romania) on the US State Department’s Tier 2 Watch list for action on trafficking.