30/07/2014

Immigration Council Calls For 'Robust Action' On Human Trafficking

The government has been urged to strengthen laws on human trafficking, with a "robust National Action Plan".

The Immigration Council of Ireland has made the call on the first UN designated World Day Against Trafficking In Persons, and is asking the government to "ensure that shortfalls in Irish law are addressed in the action plan".

In a statement released on the organisation's website, the Council said: "Trafficking for sexual exploitation is one of the biggest crimes of our time – and Ireland is not immune with estimates from the Central Statistics Office that human traffickers are part of a black economy which pockets €1.2 billion a year.

"As a frontline agency which has supported more than 50 victims of trafficking we know the reality of the situation. Our clients tell us of grim shared experiences. Often sold by a family member for a few thousand euro, tricked into coming to Ireland with false promises of a new life to end up in a brothel, forced to have sex with about a dozen men a day."

The council is urging the government to:

• Address international criticism of Ireland by ensuring that victims of trafficking are provided with safe and secure accommodation with full access to legal supports.

• Improve the process of formally identifying the victims of trafficking.

• Introduce laws which will target demand for prostitution and human trafficking, in other words the buyers of sex.

It is also seeking the implementation of the unanimous recommendation of the Oireachtas Justice Committee for laws which will target the buyers of sex, whose actions are fuelling prostitution and organised crime.

Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, added:

"The publication of a National Action Plan on Human Trafficking is an opportunity for the Government to send out a strong message that Ireland is not a soft target for those who pocket billions by trampling on the human rights of their victims."

(MH/JP)

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