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EU Anti-Trafficking Day Marked By Emphasising Importance Of Awareness.

“Human trafficking is a problem, and it is happening in Ireland”Minister Helen McEntee.

The Minister for Justice, Mrs Helen McEntee TD, has marked EU Anti-Trafficking Day , today, by stressing the importance of raising awareness of the issue, and the importance of sharing information, knowledge and best practices amongst various groups working to combat same.

EU Anti-Trafficking Day is marked on October 18th each year, and Minister McEntee is aware that vulnerable people are trafficked into Ireland for the purpose of exploitation, including sexual exploitation and forced criminality.

The Minister said: “Today is a fitting moment to highlight that this crime is happening and it’s happening across the EU, including in Ireland. Victims can be found anywhere, often hiding in plain sight.

The Government is determined to combat this insidious crime and to support those who are victims of it.

We are confident that the victim-centred policy approach we are taking will encourage more victims to come forward which will, in turn, strengthen prosecutions and convictions”.

There are a number of significant developments in the fight against human trafficking in Ireland including:

  • A revised National Referral Mechanism, which will soon be put on a statutory footing, making it easier for victims of trafficking to come forward, be identified, and access support;
  • The development of a new National Action Plan on human trafficking;
  • The first convictions, in September of last year, for human trafficking;
  • An increase in funding dedicated specifically to supporting victims of trafficking, and for public awareness and prevention efforts.

The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the framework through which the State fulfils its obligations to protect and promote the human rights of trafficking victims, working in partnership with civil society.

The General Scheme of the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences and Human Trafficking) Bill 2022, published in July, will put a revised NRM on a statutory footing.

Currently An Garda Síochána is the sole competent authority for recognition of human trafficking victims. The revised NRM will include the full range of Government Departments and agencies that come into contact with potential victims, as well as designated NGOs, as members. This should make it easier for victims to come forward to seek protection and to access all of the supports and resources that are available to them.

Work to develop a new National Action Plan on human trafficking is at an advanced stage and is expected to be submitted for Government approval before the end of the year.

The Third National Strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence that Minister McEntee launched in June contains an action to identify linkages between the implementation plan accompanying the Strategy, and the National Action Plan, as well as ensuring actions to prevent prostitution and combat trafficking for sexual exploitation are addressed in an integrated manner.

Minister McEntee paid tribute to a wide range of partners across the public service providing care and practical support to trafficking victims, including An Garda Síochána, the HSE, the Legal Aid Board, the Immigration Service, and Tusla, as well as NGOs funded by the Department to provide support.

Acknowledging the launch today of a counter-trafficking awareness short film (Shown above) to highlight the risk of trafficking in Ireland, the Minister added: “For the past number of years my Department has engaged in a successful partnership with the International Organisation for Migration office here in Dublin to raise awareness that victims of trafficking can be found anywhere, often hidden in plain sight. The short film being launching today has a role in building this awareness.

“We want wider society to recognise the signs of human trafficking and to know what to do and where to go if they have concerns”.

Note: Between 2015 and 2020, 356 potential victims of trafficking were identified by the Irish authorities.
In 2016, The International Labour Organization estimated that 40.3 million persons were in situations of modern day slavery, with traffickers estimated to be coining more than €150 billion per year.

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