IRELAND (Tier 2)
Ireland is a destination country for women, men, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.An academic study by the National University of Ireland Galway and Trinity College concluded that a minimum of 76 victims were trafficked into Ireland for sexual exploitation between 2000 and 2006, and an NGO working with immigrants reported 46 cases of suspected labor trafficking from July 2005 to December 2007. Women from Eastern Europe, Nigeria, other parts of Africa, as well as smaller numbers from South America and Asia, have reportedly been trafficked to Ireland for forced prostitution. Labor trafficking victims reportedly consist of men and women fromBangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, and the Philippines, although there may also be some victims from South America, Eastern Europe, and other parts of Asia and Africa. An Irish NGO reported that most forced labor victims are found in domestic labor, and restaurant and agricultural work. Unaccompanied minors from various source countries, particularly in Africa, represent a vulnerable group in Ireland that may be susceptible to trafficking and exploitation.
The Government of Ireland does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Irish officials have shown considerable political will in combating human trafficking through the drafting of new anti-trafficking legislation, but key deficiencies in the areas of prosecution, protection, and prevention remain.
Recommendations for Ireland:
Enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation; establish formal policies and procedures to ensure victims are provided with access to protection and assistance in coordination with anti-trafficking NGOs; and implement a visible trafficking demand-reduction campaign in Ireland.
Ireland’s prosecution efforts were hampered by a lack of comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation during the rating period. The government introduced a bill in 2007 that specifically defines and outlaws all forms of human trafficking. Irish officials anticipate the bill’s enactment in June 2008. The Government of Ireland did not report any prosecutions of trafficking offenses or convictions of trafficking offenders in 2007. The Irish police launched Operation Snow in 2007, which was dedicated to investigating the possible trafficking of unaccompanied children into Ireland; it also cooperated with the United Kingdom on antitrafficking investigations. The Irish police instituted a new training module on human trafficking as part of basic training for new police recruits and continuing education for police personnel throughout Ireland.
Lacking a formal mechanism for referring victims to service providers, the Irish government referred victims on a case-by-case basis to NGOs providing food, shelter, health care, and legal assistance. The government employed some formal immigration
procedures that proactively identify victims among vulnerable groups and guide law enforcement in the process of victim identification. Irish NGOs reported that the government generally treated victims well, but there have been instances in rural areas where police have detained suspected victims to verify identity and for unlawful acts committed as a result of their being trafficked. Immigration authorities can provide victims with permission to remain in Ireland. The government funded IOM to assist with return and reintegration of victims. The government and NGOs reported that the police encourage victims to assist in investigations but do not pressure them to do so. The government did not allocate specific funds for victims of trafficking in Ireland but provided funds for one NGO that works with trafficking victims as part of its broader mission to assist women involved in commercial sexual exploitation.
The Immigration, Residence, and Protection Bill, currently in the first stages of Parliamentary approval, includes provisions for the protection of trafficking victims.
Ireland has taken steps to improve prevention efforts. In December 2007, the Justice Ministry created an anti-trafficking unit headed by an executive director who reports directly to the Justice Minister. This unit leads and coordinates overall anti-trafficking efforts for the Government of Ireland. The government has a positive working relationship with NGOs combating trafficking. Government officials distributed and displayed NGO-funded and -developed posters aimed at assisting victims in airports, bus and rail stations, ports, hospitals, and police stations, and a partially government-funded NGO runs a hotline that offers victims and potential victims assistance. Ireland’s Department of Defense includes training modules for peacekeepers that address human trafficking and sexual exploitation. While the government has not implemented a visible trafficking demandreduction campaign in Ireland, it has contributed approximately $438,000 over three years beginning in 2006 to the worldwide ECPAT mission, an NGO combating international child trafficking and child sex tourism worldwide. Ireland has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.