Victims of sex trafficking being failed in Ireland, 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report finds
The annual 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, published today by the US Department of State, reiterated Ireland’s downgraded tier 2 position for the second year running. This means while making efforts, the Irish Government is deemed not to meet the minimum standards required in the fight against human trafficking.
Dr Nusha Yonkova, Anti-Trafficking and Gender Expert, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “The 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report provides the most comprehensive global snapshot of the grotesque trade in people, so criticism Ireland is still not meeting minimum standards is very grave news indeed.
“Of the 64 victims officially identified by the Irish Government in 2018, 27 were women trafficked for sexual exploitation, 23 were men exploited in the fishing industries and 14 in various other labour and criminal situations. The overall majority were women. The Immigrant Council of Ireland is concerned to see yet again the majority of victims are trafficked women, and a large number of them, 27, sexually exploited and suffering long-term consequences.
“The Irish Government was criticised for its ‘insufficient victim protection efforts’. This includes serious issues with Ireland’s victim identification procedure, which mirror consistent criticisms from the High Court, international experts (including GRETA) and practitioners of this process. It also noted the long-promised review of identification procedures and revised national referral mechanism, promised when the Government published its Second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking in October 2016, has still not been adequately progressed.”
Brian Killoran, CEO, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said, “The Immigrant Council of Ireland and its colleagues working in the area have long been concerned asylum-seekers cannot be identified as victims of trafficking if they have an asylum proceeding pending. This means we are under-identifying victims and in addition, many survivors may not be able to access all the protections to which they are entitled.
“The report extended its severe criticism to Ireland’s accommodation of victims of sex trafficking – an issue the Immigrant Council of Ireland recently discussed with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality. As the report notes, ‘The government reported ongoing conversations to develop alternative government-funded accommodation, which experts welcomed, but officials offered no concrete proposals.’”
Dr Yonkova concluded, “Similarly to GRETA, this report highlighted the need for early legal intervention in Ireland. The involvement of specialist solicitors secures vital assistance to victims in navigating the elaborate process of access to rights and participation in criminal investigation.
“The TIP Report calls for the introduction of an independent special rapporteur on human trafficking who could take the lead in delivering the much-needed improvements identified in both reports. The Finnish example shows just how effective this position can be to analyse the effectiveness of the investments in protecting the victims and informing future efforts.”
Note to editors
Read more: 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report: Ireland
Pippa Woolnough, Communications and Advocacy Manager, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Tel: 085 8640682