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Human Trafficking victims not being guaranteed rights, protections and supports

16 February 2015

Trafficking victims should be guaranteed access to specialised lawyers, safe accommodation and proper supports, according to research funded by the EU (Monday 16th Feb 2015).

The report, developed through the Early Legal Intervention project, is a six-country collaboration between The AIRE Centre, The Immigrant Council of Ireland, Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation, Klaipeda Social and Psychological Services Centre, Legal Services Agency & MONIKA (Multicultural Women’s Association).

The research, part of a six-country project, found that there are no 'formal routes, protocols or procedures in place' to guarantee victims of trafficking proper access to lawyers as early as possible.

The report is also critical of the practice of placing victims of sex trafficking in Ireland into Direct Provision Centres and calls for the appointment of an Independent National Rapporteur to ensure robust measures are in place to protect victims.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland, the lead partner in the research, says the findings should be acted upon in a new National Action Plan on Human Trafficking promised by the Government.

The report 'Upholding Rights' makes wide-ranging recommendations for the six countries involved including:

  •               Standardised procedures to identify victims of trafficking without prejudice to nationality and legal status
  •               Early access to lawyers for all detected victims of trafficking covering all aspects of law
  •               Minimum accommodation standards for victims of trafficking – the end of the use of Direct Provision Centres
  •               Increased education and public awareness campaigns on trafficking

 Welcoming the publication, Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said:

 "This research comes at a key time for Ireland with the Government about to publish its new Sexual Offences Bill, which includes laws targeting the buyers of sex, as well as the promised second National Action Plan on Human Trafficking.  We would urge the Minister for Justice to study the shortfalls highlighted and ensure they are acted upon.

 The Immigrant Council in particular would like to see urgent improvements in identifying victims of human trafficking, guaranteed early access to lawyers, the ending of the placing of victims in Direct Provision where they are in danger, and the appointment of an Independent Rapporteur.

 We also want the Government to rapidly progress its plans for laws targeting the buyers of sex so as the business model for pimps and traffickers is wrecked."

Matt Moriarty, Barrister and The AIRE Centre's Legal Project Manager on the ELI project said, "The report highlights the pressing need for timely and effective legal respresentation for victims and the importance in ensuring that victims of trafficking are properly identified. We are all looking forward to implementing the pilots this year." 


Read the full report

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