Ireland 'not meeting minimum standards' for elimination of human trafficking, report warns

The Immigrant Council of Ireland warns that the findings represent "grave news indeed"

Ireland 'not meeting minimum standards' for elimination of human trafficking, report warns

Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A report from the US State Department has warned that victims of sex trafficking are being failed in Ireland.

The Trafficking in Persons report for 2018 reveals Ireland has been downgraded to a tier 2 country - meaning it's no longer deemed to be meeting the minimum standards required to eliminate trafficking.

It highlights ongoing shortcomings in the treatment of victims here, and 'chronic deficiencies' in identification.

The report also highlights concerns over Ireland's accommodation of victims of sex trafficking, who often spend extended periods of time in direct provision centres without access to appropriate supports.

According to the report, officials here "made significant efforts to meet the minimum standards" - but warns that efforts "were not serious and sustained compared to the efforts during the previous reporting period".

Among other recommendations, it urges authorities in Ireland to "vigorously investigate, prosecute, and convict suspected offenders of both sex and labor trafficking".

It also calls on the establishment of an independent national rapporteur to identify and address gaps in anti-trafficking efforts, as well as a dedicated hotline to report trafficking crimes.

Nusha Yonkova, Anti-Trafficking and Gender Expert at the Immigrant Council of Ireland, said: “The 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report provides the most comprehensive global snapshot of the grotesque trade in people, so criticism Ireland is not meeting minimum standards is grave news indeed.   

“Of the 103 victims identified in 2017, the majority, 63, were victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and half were EU nationals, while the overall majority were women."

She added: "The Immigrant Council of Ireland is concerned to see yet again the majority of victims of trafficking are being trafficked for sexual exploitation, especially recognising these official figures are just the tip of the iceberg."