Anti-trafficking body slates Ireland’s ‘inadequate response’ to human trafficking

Anti-trafficking body slates Ireland's 'inadequate response' to human trafficking

A major European anti-trafficking body has raised concerns over the “inadequate criminal justice response to human trafficking in Ireland”.

The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) made the criticism in its latest report on Ireland’s implementation of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

The report notes that the only convictions under the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 between 2012-15 were under section 3 on charges of sexual assault, pornography, restricting the liberty and sexually exploiting a child by the accused, “which are not strictly speaking trafficking offences but rather sexual offences”.

It adds: “Strikingly, there have been no convictions for human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation of adults. Further, despite the amendments to the legislation on forced labour, there have been no convictions for trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, despite the increasing number of identified suspected cases.”

The report calls on the Government to ensure that units investigating trafficking offences are properly resourced, and that investigators, prosecutors and judges understand the “seriousness” of trafficking.

It also calls on the Government to review legislation and investigation/prosecution procedures “with a view to identifying and addressing gaps (e.g. in relation to trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation/forced labour and )”.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan welcomed the report, which he said made evident the Government’s “clear commitment to tackling human trafficking, supporting victims and pursuing traffickers”.

He added: “I fully welcome the positive comments made in the Report in relation to our efforts to date and will carefully consider the insights of the Group of Experts in relation to our approach and the development of our policies and practices in this area.”

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