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Ireland

  • 1. GENERAL INFORMATION

    Ireland’s response to trafficking in human beings has developed rapidly in recent years. A special Anti-Human Trafficking Unit was established in the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform in February 2008 with a mandate to develop and implement a national anti-trafficking strategy. In June 2008, Ireland introduced specific anti-trafficking legislation in the form of the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008. Administrative Immigration Arrangements for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking were also introduced in June 2008 to coincide with the enactment of the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008.

    Since the establishment of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit 3 other dedicated units have been created.  These include the Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-ordination Unit in the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), the Anti-Human Trafficking Team in the Health Service Executive (HSE) and a specialised Human Trafficking legal team in the Legal Aid Board (LAB).  These units have been set up as a response to Ireland’s international obligations to provide services to victims of human trafficking.

    Ireland is mainly a destination country and to a lesser extent a transit country. Women, men and children are suspected of being trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour. Women from Eastern Europe, Nigeria, other parts of Africa, South America and Asia are trafficked to Ireland for forced prostitution. Labour trafficking victims, both male and female, are mainly from Africa and Asia.

    Data collected in 2010 shows that 69 cases of alleged trafficking in human beings involving 78 alleged victims were reported to An Garda Síochána .  These 78 persons were either encountered directly by An Garda Síochána or were referred by other governmental organisations or NGOs .  Numbers and trends observed in 2010 are broadly in line with those of 2009, with the exception of a marked increase in the number of alleged victims from EU Member States encountered.   (In 2009 alleged VOTs from EU Member States totalled 6 persons, or roughly 9% of the total encountered during that year compared to 17 persons or roughly 22% of the total encountered in 2010).

    Levels of trafficking in human beings reported to or encountered by An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) have remained stable over the last 3 years.  Trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation continues to be the most prevalent form of THB accounting for approximately 70% of those reported to the authorities while trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation accounts for approximately 25%.  Adults account for approximately 75% of those reported while minors account for 25%. The number of women (88%) reported far exceeds the number of men (12%).  Persons from Western Africa remain the largest regional group accounting for approximately 45% of those reported followed by persons from the EU who account for approximately 18%.

    The most recently published data on human trafficking in Ireland, which is available from the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit’s Annual Report for 2011, shows a decrease in the number of victims coming to the attention of the State authorities and NGOs.  The overall number of persons encountered in 2011 was 57 compared with 78 in 2010.  Preliminary figures from January to September of this year indicate that a further reduction in the number of those reported will be apparent again in 2012.  This overall decrease is largely due to the significant and continued reduction in the number of reported trafficking victims from Western Africa, principally Nigeria.  Victims of human trafficking from Nigeria, while continuing to be the largest group of those encountered in Ireland, have been decreasing in number since 2009 when data collection on human trafficking first began.

    In terms of other evident trends overall patterns remain largely unchanged from previous years.  Sex trafficking continues to be the most likely form of trafficking to be reported.  This is followed by labour trafficking.  The majority of reported victims continue to be adult females though minors have remained a significant minority (approx. 25%) of those reported.  In terms of the regions of origin, Western Africa, principally Nigeria, followed by the EU, principally Romania, continue to be the biggest source regions, though as already noted, the number of reported victims from Nigeria has been consistently deceasing since 2009.

    Type of exploitation/gender/age/origin of victims

    • Of the 78 (100.0%) persons, 56 (71.8%) were alleged victims of sexual exploitation, 19 (24.4%) were alleged victims of labour exploitation and 3 (3.8%) were alleged victims of an uncategorised exploitation .
    • Of the 78 (100.0%) alleged victims of human trafficking reported to An Garda Síochána in 2010, 61 (78.2%) were female and 17 (21.8%) were male.
    • Of the 78 (100.0%) alleged victims of human trafficking reported to An Garda Síochána in 2010, 59 (75.6%) were adults and 19 (24.4%) were minors .

    The majority of alleged victims originated from Western Africa (principally Nigeria). This group included 30 persons or roughly 40% of those encountered in 2010.  The second largest discernable group were from within the EU and included 17 persons or roughly 22% of the total encountered in 2010.  Other alleged victims came from a variety of African and Asian countries. Six alleged VOTs or roughly 8% of those encountered were from Ireland.

    Offenders

    In 2010, 5 cases were prosecuted in regard to offences relating to trafficking of human beings.  Three of these were prosecuted under the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act, 2008, 1 was prosecuted under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998 and 1 was prosecuted under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, 2006. In 2010, 5 convictions were secured in regard to offences relating to trafficking of human beings. Two of the convictions were secured under the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act, 2008.  In 1 of the other 3 cases a conviction was secured under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998 and the Criminal Law (Rape)(Amendment) Act, 1990. The remaining 2 convictions were secured under the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, 1998.  All those prosecuted and/or convicted of trafficking offences in 2009/10 were adult males.  Information cannot be provided in the timescale available in regard to the nationality of these persons.

    Protection of victims

    Sixty nine (69) reported victims have been referred to the Legal Aid Board for free legal services up to the end of September 2012.  Furthermore, 79 care plans have been completed by the Human Trafficking Team of the Health Service Executive up to the end of September 2012.

    Update on prosecutions and convictions

    In 2011, 7 cases were prosecuted in regard to offences relating to trafficking of human beings.  Also in 2011, 4 separate cases resulted in convictions for human trafficking related offences. Preliminary figures for 2012 show that 7 further prosecutions relating to human trafficking have been initiated so far this year.

    Information concerning victims of human trafficking and anti-trafficking law enforcement activity is made available in the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit’s Annual Reports which are accessible online via Ireland’s dedicated anti-human trafficking website www.blueblindfold.gov.ie.  Figures for 2012 will be published in 2013.

    Levels of trafficking in human beings reported to or encountered by An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) have marginally decreased in 2012 than their levels over the last 3 years.  Work is progressing on finalising the Annual Report for 2012 setting out the statistical details and demographics.  It would be fair to say that trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation continues to be the most prevalent form of THB in Ireland. 

    For more information on human trafficking in Ireland see the www.blueblindfold.gov.ie

  • 2. INSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK

    Legislation

    The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 creates offences of trafficking in adults for the purposes of sexual or labour exploitation or the removal of their organs. The 2008 Act also amended the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 and added trafficking in children for the purposes of labour exploitation and the removal of organs to the offence of sexual exploitation. The 2008 Act also raised the penalty for human trafficking from 14 years to life imprisonment and amended the definition of the age of a child from 17 to 18.

    The 2008 Act also makes it an offence to sell or offer for sale or to purchase or offer to purchase any person for any purpose.  Under section 4 of the Act, it is not a defence for an accused trafficker to argue that the trafficked person consented to being trafficked. Furthermore, under section 7 of the Act, persons committing offences provided for in the Act outside of the State may be tried in the State as if the offence had been committed in the State. Penalties of up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine apply to the human trafficking offences.

    The Act also provides for measures to protect a trafficked person's anonymity under sections 10 and 11 by granting a judge the authority to exclude persons other than those directly concerned with the proceedings from the court and by prohibiting the broadcasting or publication of material (such as photographs) that may make the trafficked person identifiable.

    In relation to the sexual exploitation of trafficked persons, it is an offence under section 5 of the Act to solicit or importune a trafficked person for the purpose of prostitution. Similarly, it is an offence to benefit from such activities.  Penalties of up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine apply in respect of those offences. It is a defence for the defendant to prove that he or she did not know and had no reasonable grounds for believing that the person in respect of whom the offence was committed was a trafficked person.

    Under the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000 it is an offence for a person to organise or knowingly facilitate the entry into Ireland of another person whom that person knows or has reasonable cause to believe is an illegal immigrant. The penalty for this offence is a maximum of ten years' imprisonment, or an unlimited fine, or both.

    The Sexual Offences (Jurisdiction) Act 1996 allows for the prosecution of an Irish citizen, or a person ordinarily resident in the State, who commits an act in another country which is a sexual offence against a child in that other country and if done within the State, would constitute a sexual offence against a child in the State.  The penalties are a maximum of 5 years imprisonment on conviction on indictment. The purpose of this legislation is to deter what is commonly referred to as “sex tourism”.

    The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010 provides for a period of recovery and reflection of 60 days in the State for suspected victims of trafficking and also, in circumstances where the person trafficked wishes to assist the Garda Síochána or other relevant authorities in any investigation or prosecution in relation to the alleged trafficking, a further six months period of residence, renewable, to enable him or her to do so.  The Bill also provides that the Minister may make regulations prescribing a Recovery and Reflection Period exceeding 60 days where a person is under the age of 18 years.

    An administrative framework, entitled the Administrative Immigration Arrangements for the Protection of victims of Trafficking, broadly reflecting the provisions in the Bill, was introduced on 7 June 2008 to provide for the period of recovery, reflection and residency in the State pending enactment of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill.  Amendments were made to the Scheme in early 2011.  These amendments include:

    • a procedure to allow a person to make an application to change to a longer term permission to remain in the State after 3 years of Temporary Residency Permissions or when the investigation/prosecution is complete (whichever is the shorter);
    • arrangements to issue a recovery and reflection period for persons under 18 years for periods in excess of 60 days having regard to the arrangements in place for the care and welfare of the child;
    • a clarification that there is no right to family re-unification while on temporary residence permission (each case will be considered on its merits);
    • a provision for those victims of human trafficking, who have been refused asylum, to allow them to have the fact that they have been identified as a suspected victim of human trafficking to be taken into account in any consideration as to whether they may remain in the country under various immigration permissions.  In such cases temporary residence permission under the Administrative Immigration Arrangements will automatically issue pending consideration of any other forms of immigration permission of which the person may wish to avail.

    Ratification of International Instruments
    Ireland ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime the UN Protocol came into effect for Ireland on 17 July, 2010.  Ireland has opted into the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA. The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit is in consultation with the relevant Government Departments/agencies about the manner of implementation at present.

    National Strategy/National Action Plan
    On 10 June 2009 the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform published the National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking of Human Beings in Ireland 2009-2012. The Plan outlines the measures which have been undertaken already across Government Departments and Agencies to address human trafficking. It identifies areas which require further action, and to sets out the structures which bring Ireland into line with its international obligations.  The Plan is divided into four main areas: Prevention of human trafficking; Awareness Raising; Protection of the Victim and Response to Child Trafficking.

    Review of the National Action Plan
    In order to ensure that Ireland’s policies are working effectively, the National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings which was published on the 10 June 2009 is currently being reviewed.  The review involves a consultation process with relevant stakeholders.   Following the review the Plan will be updated in the light of the consultation in order to take account of changing circumstances, new issues and our growing experience in this area.

    Coordination of anti-trafficking actions at a national level
    Coordination and consultation process in place in Ireland is closely modelled on the guidelines set out by the OSCE in their handbook on establishing National Referral Mechanisms. The structure of the consultation process is set out beneath. 
    The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Department of Justice and Equality has the overall responsibility for coordinating anti-trafficking policies in Ireland. Much of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit's work is conducted in close cooperation with a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. Cooperation between the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and other organisations is primarily conducted through a number of different consultative groups. In total, the Unit is working with over 70 different organisations, nationally and internationally.

    High Level Group / Roundtable Discussions/ Working Groups
    In terms of overall coordination, an Interdepartmental High Level Group was established to recommend the most appropriate and effective responses to trafficking in human beings.  The Group comprises senior representatives from various Government Departments and Public Sector bodies.  Representatives of the High Level Group engage with NGO representatives by way of roundtable discussions held approximately every four months.

    There are 5 Working Groups in place focusing on the areas of child trafficking, awareness raising and training, labour and sexual exploitation and the national referral mechanism. These groups work to implement agreed priorities as set out in the National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking of Human Beings in Ireland 2009-2012. The Groups were initially set up in mid 2008 for a period of 18 months - their Terms of Reference have been reviewed and updated to reflect developments over that period.

    All of the policies which are brought forward are put before the various working groups so that all those involved whether State Organisations, International Organisations or NGOs have the opportunity to provide their views.  This helps ensure that finalised policy proposals generally contain aspects of all stakeholders’ views.

    Dedicated Anti-Human Trafficking Units
    In terms of streamlining services to victims of human trafficking, 3 other dedicated units, in addition to the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit in the Department of Justice and Equality, have been established.  These include the Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-ordination Unit in the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB-Irish Police), the Anti-Human Trafficking Team in the Health Service Executive (HSE) who develop an individual care plan for each alleged victim and a specialised Human Trafficking legal team in the Legal Aid Board (LAB).  These units have been set up as a response to Ireland’s international obligations to provide services to victims of the trafficking of human beings.

    Dedicated personnel are also assigned to deal with prosecution of cases in the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP) Office and in the New Communities and Asylum Seekers Unit in the Department of Social Protection. The latter assist suspected victims who are not in the asylum system making the transition from Direct Provision accommodation to mainstream services for the duration of their temporary residency.

    Statement of Roles and Responsibilities
    A Statement of Roles and Responsibilities was completed in 2010.  The purpose of this Statement is to outline the roles and responsibilities of all the relevant governmental non-governmental and international stakeholders are involved in (a) protecting potential and suspected victims of human trafficking and (b) combating trafficking in human beings.  The Statement provides greater clarity in terms of the following

    • the process of identification,
    • the range of available services and assistance measures,
    • how these services may be accessed and
    • the part played by the relevant organisations at each of these stages.

    National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanisms
    The Irish Government has not established a National Rapporteur.

    Ireland has opted into the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA. The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Department of Justice and Equality is in consultation with the relevant Government Departments/agencies about the manner of implementation at present including the issue of the establishment of a National Rapporteur.

    Forced labour and human trafficking
    Ireland is currently examining the issue of forced labour to establish the precise nature of the phenomenon and whether Ireland is fully compliant with our international obligations.  To this end, An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) is conducting a detailed analysis of the cases where forced labour is alleged. The analysis will help to identify any particular problems and should provide an evidentiary basis for any legislative and/or administrative measures, if any, that are required.

  • 3. IMPLEMENTATION OF ANTI-TRAFFICKING POLICY

    Prevention

    Training and Awareness 

    Detailed 3 day training course took place in 2012 involving 60 members of An Garda Síochána. Training was focused on preventing human trafficking, protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers.

    • By the end of December, 2012 a total of 656 operational Garda Síochána personnel had received detailed training in identification of victims of human trafficking, referral of victims for supports and the prosecution of trafficking offences.
    • In 2012 awareness raising training on human trafficking was delivered to 25 Traffic Police Manager and 43 Continuous Professional Development Trainers (i.e. persons responsible for training Gardaí nationwide).
    • In 2012 representatives from the Human Trafficking, Investigation and Coordination Unit of An Garda Síochána provided training to 70 Health Service Executive staff; to 42 Youth Reach students; to 20 law students; to 70 Social Study third level students and to 30 persons working in the area of ‘Movement, Migration and Trafficking’ i.e. NGOs, Transport Officials and Port Authorities.
    • To mark EU Anti-Trafficking Day in 2012 the Minister for Justice and Equality in Dublin and the Minister for Justice in Belfast announced a joint photograph and video competition for third level students.  The idea was that students would submit either a photograph or a video depicting their interpretation of human trafficking.  The competition had a social media element resulting in a significant increase in traffic on the Anti-Human Trafficking facebook page and on the Anti-Human Trafficking dedicated website – www.blueblindfold.gov.ie.
    • Throughout 2012 presentations by representatives of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit were made to a variety of organisations including third level institutions and religious groups.
    • For the first time in 2012 the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit developed and issued a Newsletter containing contributions from State, NGO and International organisations.  It is planned to issue this newsletter on a quarterly basis.
    • A Guide on Services for Victims of Child Trafficking was developed and distributed to relevant civil society organisations and is available on our website www.blueblindfold.gov.ie.

    Guidelines for staff at the Department of Social Protection
    The Department of Social Protection circulated guidelines to its staff early in 2011. These guidelines are intended to advise staff in the Department of some of the indicators of human trafficking which they may come across in the course of their duties. It also includes details of how they should report any concerns.

    Train the trainers
    The IOM secured a contract in 2009 to develop, design and deliver a 'Train the Trainers' programme on behalf of the AHTU, which was subsequently rolled out to personnel in Government agencies likely to encounter victims of trafficking. The idea of the programme is that participants on the course train others in their organisations on the issues associated with human  trafficking. Three 'Train the Trainer' courses have been completed with 39 participants from 13 different organisations: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, RIA, Irish Prison Service, Legal Aid Board, FÁS, Department of Social Protection, Department of Enterprise, Trade & Innovation, HSE, NERA, Department of Defence, Department of Transport,  ORAC, Women's Health Project and GNIB.

    The majority of Ireland’s most recent anti-trafficking initiatives relate to training and awareness raising.  In this regard the following should be noted.

    Detailed 3 day training courses took place in 2011 involving 140 members of An Garda Síochána. Training was focused on preventing human trafficking, protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers.

    By the end of December, 2011 a total of 630 operational Garda Síochána personnel had received detailed training in identification of victims of human trafficking, referral of victims for supports and the prosecution of trafficking offences and  awareness raising training on human trafficking has now been delivered to a total of

    • 3,196 probationer Gardaí during their final phase of training;
    • 42 members of the Garda Reserve;
    • 96 Immigration Officers;
    • 192 Ethnic Liaison Officers (of whom 4 were PSNI Liaison Officers);
    • 80 Senior Investigating Officers.

    Representatives from the Human Trafficking, Investigation and Coordination Unit of An Garda Síochána made presentations to labour inspectors of the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) to supplement previous training on human trafficking provided to this group in 2008.  Joint police/NERA inspections also took place in 2011.

    Funding to Civil Society Organisations
    In 2010, the Department of Justice and Equality provided €250,000 in funding to Ruhama - an NGO that provides assistance to women involved in prostitution and female victims of sex trafficking. €8,500 was provided to the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, an NGO that advocates on behalf of migrant workers and their families, for its work with victims of trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation.

    Garda Síochána Training
    The Garda Síochána has placed particular importance on ensuring that its members receive training which will equip them to tackle the phenomenon of human trafficking.  A continuous professional development training course entitled ‘Tackling Trafficking in Human Beings: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution’ has been designed by the Garda Síochána. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre, AHTU and the Health Services Executive (HSE) together with NGOs such as Ruhama, Migrants Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) and the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) assist in the delivery of this training in recognition and investigation of trafficking in persons to front line Garda and PSNI Officers. Training includes victim identification through recognising indicators of trafficking in human beings.

    In excess of 3450 members of An Garda Síochána have received training on the issue of human trafficking, 495 of which have attended a detailed 2-day training course. Courses were also held for Immigration Officers, Probationer Gardaí, Garda Reserves and Senior Investigating Officers. The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) held a one day Organised Prostitution course in January 2010 which was attended by approximately 100 members of An Garda Síochána.

    Legal Aid Board
    A specialised training course was held in September 2009 for staff of the Legal Aid Board who provides legal aid and advice to potential and suspected victims of trafficking in human beings since November 2009.

    Other latest initiatives/avtivities

    A mid term review of the National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings (NAP) 2009-2012 has been conducted.  Input was provided by all relevant governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.  The report of the review is currently being finalised and will be submitted shortly to the Interdepartmental High Level Group on Combating Human Trafficking for approval and submission to the Minister for Justice and Equality.

    The Department of Justice and Equality is currently examining the question of whether forced labour should be criminalised as a stand-alone offence without reference to human trafficking.  A report on the matter is being finalised for submission to the Minister for Justice and Equality.

    Guidelines to the services for victims of child trafficking in Ireland have been published.  The Guidelines feature illustrations created by 2nd Level students for an art competition for students held by AHTU in February 2012.

    The OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings conducted a country visit to Ireland in February 2012.

    A new National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking of Human Beings in Ireland 2013-2016 is currently being drafted.  The development of the new NAP will take account of the priorities set out in the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012-2016)”.

    The Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking (GRETA) will visit Ireland in November as part of the monitoring process of the State’s implementation of the Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings.   The GRETA delegation will meet a range of Governmental and Non-Governmental stakeholders during the course of their visit.

    A Photography & Video/Social Media Competition for Third Level students has being organised as a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and Equality in the Republic of Ireland and the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland.  The official launch of the competition will take place on 18 October 2012 to coincide with EU Anti-Trafficking Day.  Three independent judges have been appointed to evaluate the entries with members of the public also able to vote via Facebook.

    From 18/10/2012 the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit will issue a Newsletter 3 times per year.

    The content of the Department of Justice and Equality’s anti-trafficking website www.blueblindfold.gov.ie has been updated and revised to make the site more user-friendly and informative.

    The Dept of Justice and Equality has approved funding of €20,000 to 2 NGOs in 2012.

    The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit along with representatives of An Garda Síochána (Police) and the Health Service Executive have made several presentations to students at 3rd Level Institutions as part of the law and social work curricula of these universities.

    Other initiatives

    • Human Trafficking was identified as one of the priority issues for Ireland’s Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2012.  As part of that Chairmanship, Ireland organised an international seminar on human trafficking.  In addition, Ireland contributed to annual OSCE Alliance against Trafficking in Human Beings, an international forum of experts and organisations on combating human trafficking.
    • To build on the Human Trafficking Strategy launched by the EU Commission last year Ireland (as part of its Presidency of the EU) is progressing an initiative that will seek to strengthen the access of victims of trafficking in human beings to information concerning their rights under EU law.  The initiative concerns the development and dissemination of readily understandable documentation in relation to the rights of victims of human trafficking in each MemberState.

    Challenges

    • Work has commenced on the development of a new National Action Plan to take on board recommendations from various international bodies who carried out evaluations of Ireland during 2012 i.e. the OSCE and GRETA and the views of civil society.

    Assistance and support provided to victims

    Identification
    In Ireland a person is considered to be an alleged victim of human trafficking once they or someone acting on their behalf make a claim of having being trafficked to the Garda Authorities. At that time, the person is offered and, if required, provided with access to accommodation; free medical care and an individual health care plan (which covers such things as medical and psychological matters, accommodation, education, training, counselling, etc); interpretation facilities and legal advice and advice on their security and safety from a Crime Prevention Officer of An Garda Síochána. In many instances, accommodation, healthcare and legal advice is provided before the person meets the police e.g. when a non-Governmental Organisation contacts An Garda Síochána to say they have encountered a person they think is a victim. Services are available prior to any requirement to cooperate with the State authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the trafficking offence. All persons making a claim of human to the Garda Authorities continue to be considered as alleged victims of human trafficking for the duration of their interactions with the State Authorities unless evidence emerges which clearly shows that no human trafficking has occurred.

    In circumstances in which persons have no legal basis to remain in the State, protection may be granted under the Administrative Immigration Arrangements for the Protection of Victims of Trafficking for the purposes of regularising their presence in the State. In such instances, a member of An Garda Síochána not below the rank of Superintendent in the office of GNIB must make an assessment as to whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that human trafficking has occurred. In doing so, An Garda Síochána applies the model recommended by the IOM which acknowledges that the screening process to determine if a person is a victim of trafficking consists of two stages. The first is an assessment of the varying indicators that can be evaluated before an interview can take place, followed by a detailed interview with the individual. An Garda Síochána is sensitive to the needs of the individual during this process and such persons are also entitled to avail of the full range of aforementioned services. Furthermore such persons will not be removed from Ireland during this process.

    It should be noted, that in Ireland, persons are not formally registered as victims of human trafficking as no such status exists. Rather such persons are seen as victims of the alleged crime of human trafficking. Consequently, the dichotomy between formal and informal identification as made in some Member States does not apply in the Irish context.

    Accommodation
    The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice and Equality provides alleged victims of trafficking who are not Irish nationals with accommodation, on the basis of a direct referral by An Garda Síochána, in one of its accommodation centres during the identification process to determine if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person may be a victim of human trafficking and during any subsequent 60 day recovery and reflection period. This includes full board accommodation which includes all meals. Alleged victims of trafficking who are in the asylum process remain in RIA accommodation while a determination is being made in relation to their claim for asylum and associated processes (e.g. application for Leave to Remain or Subsidiary Protection).  Irish nationals who require accommodation are facilitated with this by the HSE.

    The following services are provided to alleged victims in RIA accommodation:

    • A weekly 'direct provision' allowance as well as any Exceptional Needs Payments for immediate once off material needs as assessed by a Community Welfare Officer assigned to that accommodation centre.
    • Health screening performed by medical professionals employed by the HSE.
    • 'House Rules' and other information outlining the services provided upon their arrival at a centre.
    • Alleged victims granted a 60 day recovery and reflection period will, after 50 days, be requested in writing to contact the New Communities and Asylum Seekers Unit for the purposes of facilitating their transfer from RIA accommodation to mainstream services as provided by Department of Social Protection in the event temporary residence permissions to remain in the State are granted.
    • Where potential and suspected victims of human trafficking are citizens of certain EU Member States and wish to return home, but lack the means to do so, assistance will be provided in this regard by RIA in accordance with the current procedures pertaining to the return of destitute citizens from certain EU Member States.

    Legal services
    In regard to trafficking in human beings, the Legal Aid Board, a statutory body responsible for the provision of civil legal aid and advice in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995, provides legal services on certain matters to persons notified to them by the An Garda Síochána as alleged victims of human trafficking under the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008, if engaged by the person.

    There are no merits or means tests involved prior to accessing the available services nor are applicants required to make a financial contribution to the Legal Aid Board. All relevant services are provided by solicitors and paralegal personnel who have received specific training in issues related to human trafficking.

    The Legal Aid Board has responsibility for providing free legal advice in relation to

    i. alleged victims of trafficking immigration status in the State
    ii. the measures set out in the Administrative Immigration Arrangements for the protection of Victims of Trafficking which provide for recovery and reflection and temporary residence,
    iii. seeking redress through the employment protection legislation,
    iv. information regarding what is involved in a criminal trial for a victim/witness,
    v. information regarding compensation – criminal and civil,
    vi. voluntary return home.

    Health care
    The HSE, which has responsibility for delivering health and personal social services through medical professionals and hospitals and through a network of Local Health Offices, health centres and clinics at community level, offers services, the scope of which is determined by the person’s residency status in the State, to alleged victims of trafficking in human beings who have been notified to them by An Garda Síochána if requested to do so by the person as appropriate.

    The individual care plan covers issues such as

    • General medical/sexual health
    • Mental and psychological health
    • Relationship and family
    • Accommodation
    • Education, training and employment
    • Financial management
    • Social and spiritual needs
    • Legal and immigration
    • Criminal investigation

    Material assistancef
    The Asylum Seekers and New Communities Unit (ASNCU) of the Department of Social Protection manage the transition of immigrants into the community. The primary responsibility of the ASNCU in regard to suspected victims of trafficking in human beings is to assist in the transition from direct provision accommodation as provided by RIA to accessing the mainstream services as provided by the Department of Social Protection and the HSE, including Supplementary Welfare Allowance and rent allowances.

    The ASNCU also has the responsibility of assigning a Community Welfare Officer to assist suspected victims of trafficking in accessing state services such as those provided by FÁS and the Vocational Educational Committees.

    Residence permission
    See information provided under Section 2 'Institutional and legal framework' in relation to the Immigration Residence and Protection Bill 2010 and the  Administrative Immigration Arrangements for the Protection of victims of Trafficking.

    Special protective measures for children
    The HSE has responsibility, under the Child Care Acts, to make all necessary provisions for any unaccompanied children identified as alleged victims of trafficking.  Where an unaccompanied child is identified as an alleged victim of trafficking he/she will be immediately referred to the Social Work Team for Separated Children Seeking Asylum.

    Alleged child victims, who are still in the asylum process upon turning 18 years of age, will be transferred from the care of the HSE to RIA accommodation. These persons may however remain in HSE care if they are deemed as vulnerable by a professionally qualified Social Worker in the HSE Child Care Services. A process is in place whereby a HSE Social Worker Team meets with RIA staff on a monthly basis to discuss such placements. At these meetings information regarding the young person's social, educational and clinical needs is shared with the RIA team and appropriate placements planned. In the case of a young person attending school, up to and including second level, a transfer to RIA accommodation will not take place until the end of the academic year. In such cases, every effort is made to facilitate the young person's preference as to location and, where possible, access to schools where his/her choice of school subjects is available  Once a transfer takes place to a RIA accommodation centre, appropriate links to local support services are made.

    Services provided by the HSE to alleged child victims of trafficking include:

    • Initial counselling and debriefing provided by an experienced HSE psychologist.
    • An advocacy/support service to assist them in dealing with other services.
    • A multidisciplinary assessment of children's needs is conducted over time; this is adapted to the child’s individual experience and capacity. This assessment typically involves input from social workers, psychologists and medical professionals. The input of other organisations is also included, where relevant. A Care Plan is generated on the basis of this assessment and incorporates all the services required to meet the child’s needs, including the most appropriate placement recommended.
    • The allocation of a social worker to oversee and implement individual Care Plans.
    • A range of placement options is made available and the protection level and care required is taken into account when deciding on placement options.
    • Full medical screening with referral to more specialist medical services, if required.
    • Assessment in relation to immigration status and linkage to the asylum process and advice regarding all options available.

    Investigation and prosecution

    An Garda Síochána is the Irish national police force. It has responsibility for carrying out all policing duties in the Irish State including investigations regarding trafficking in human beings. Within An Garda Síochána, the Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-ordination Unit of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) has particular expertise in regard to trafficking in human beings. A member of An Garda Síochána not below the rank of Superintendent in the office of GNIB is the State's competent authority in regard to the formal identification of victims of trafficking. While the GNIB has primary responsibility for the investigation of immigration crime and human trafficking, the GNIB also is part of the National Support Services which is comprised of other national units including the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, the Garda National Drugs Unit, the Garda Technical Bureau and the Operational Support Unit. All of the above units and the specialist services within them are available to the Garda National Immigration Bureau or any other District or Division in the course of an investigation.

    An Garda Síochána have sole responsibility for the investigation of all cases involving or related to trafficking in human beings which come to their attention either directly through targeted investigations, investigations of a more general nature or through reports and referrals from other sources such as other State Agencies, NGOs, International Organisations and members of the public.

    The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) enforces the criminal law in the courts on behalf of the People of Ireland; directs and supervises public prosecutions on indictment in the courts; and gives general direction and advice to the Garda Síochána in relation to summary cases and specific direction in such cases where requested.  The Director is independent in the performance of his functions.

    The Office of the DPP amended to the Guidelines for Prosecutors in 2009 when considering trafficking cases. The document guides the prosecutor in examining which factors that should be considered in assessing whether to commence or continue with a prosecution, including a consideration as to whether the public interest is served by a prosecution of the suspect.  Furthermore, dedicated personnel within the Office of the DPP are assigned to cases involving human trafficking.

    Latest number of prosecutions or convictions
    Notwithstanding the difficulties involved in obtaining prosecution and convictions for the crime of human trafficking, Ireland has shown marked improvements in terms of its law enforcement efforts in recent years. An examination of data provided in Anti-Human Trafficking Units Annual Reports for 2009 and 2010 show that by the end of 2009, 2 sets of files had been sent to the DPP concerning trafficking related offences compared with 7 sets of files sent to the DPP in 2010. In terms of prosecutions, 2 persons were prosecuted for trafficking related offences in 2009 compared to 5 persons in 2010. In terms of convictions, 1 person was convicted of a trafficking related offence in 2009 compared with 5 persons in 2010.

    Law enforcement (policy and training)
    Human trafficking is a policing priority in 2011 with training now having been provided to over 25% of front line police involved in mainstream policing.
    Training is also being provided to Ethnic Liaison Officers on human trafficking so they can outreach to immigrant communities.

    Given the international nature of human trafficking, Ireland has placed considerable importance on cooperating with other EU Member States in combating trafficking in human beings and in this regard marked improvements are also evident in the number of those prosecuted and convicted. An examination of AHTU Annual Statistical Reports for 2009 and 2010 show that by the end of 2009, as a result of interstate cooperation between the Romanian and Irish authorities, 3 persons were convicted in Romania for trafficking related offences. In 2010, 7 persons were convicted for trafficking related offences. As result of a joint investigation involving participation on the part of the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the Welsh Police forces, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) along with the Garda Síochána into human trafficking, prostitution and money laundering suspected to have occurred in Ireland and the UK, 2 Irish Nationals and 1 South African national were arrested and prosecuted with charges being preferred in Wales. Three Czech men were convicted in respect of six human trafficking offences in the UK arising out of an operation called “Mauritius”. A trial relating to international child trafficking took place in the Netherlands in the absence of the accused in October 2010. The accused was initially arrested in Dublin and was transferred to the Netherlands to face charges there. Multiple charges of child trafficking for sexual exploitation were preferred. A verdict will not be handed down until after 20/9/11. The accused was tried in his absence.

    European Arrest Warrants
    In 2009, 2 applications for European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) in relation to trafficking in human beings were received. At the end of 2010 1 person was being sought while the other person had been surrendered.

    In 2010, 3 applications for European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) in relation to trafficking in human beings were received. At the end of 2010 2 of the 3 persons were being sought while 1 application was refused on the grounds that information requested in order to validate the application was not forthcoming.

    National Referral Mechanism

    A National Referral Mechanism has been in place in Ireland since mid 2008.  The coordination and consultation process in place in Ireland is closely modelled on the guidelines set out by the OSCE in their handbook on establishing National Referral Mechanisms. (See the Commission’s Anti-Human Trafficking website for further information).  In some instances differing opinions between State Agencies and NGOs cannot be reconciled.

  • 4. EU AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

    There are direct contacts between An Garda Síochána and the UK Border Control Agency and the UK Human Trafficking Centre. UK Border Agency liaison officers work within the GNIB and relevant data is exchanged routinely. A Memorandum of Understanding governs exchange of information between An Garda Síochána and the UK Border Control Agency. Ireland also actively engages in activities of international organisations responsible for border control and preventing trafficking in human beings including Frontex, Europol, Eurojust and Interpol, together with co-operation with the relevant countries.

    Future plans in terms of implementation of the Directive 2011/36/EU

    Legislative is currently being drafted to amend the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 to ensure the Irish definition of human trafficking complies with that contained in the Directive.  This amended legislation will also include a definition of forced labour in accordance with the ILO Convention.  The majority of the other measures required to give effect to the Directive are already in place in Ireland, either by way of legislation or on an administrative basis.  The manner of implementation of the provision concerning the appointment of a National Rapporteur or Equivalent Mechanism is under consideration.

  • 5. RESOURCES

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