Sexual exploitation the main drivers of human trafficking


Gardaí have identified 356 people as suspected victims of human trafficking in Ireland over a six year period.

The official number of people identified as alleged victims gradually decreased between 2015 and 2020 to 38 identified people in 2020.

However, the lower figure for last year may be due to the impact of Covid-19

A new study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) examines Ireland’s policies and procedures for recognizing, identifying and protecting non-EU victims of human trafficking. Of the 356 people identified, 59 percent were non-EU citizens.

The majority of recognized victims during the six-year period were women, and the most common purpose of trafficking was for sexual exploitation.

The report highlights the challenges faced by victims of trafficking in Ireland, including the lack of adequate shelter.

Emily Cunniffe, co-author of the report, said the research was now timely “given concerns about the increased risk of human trafficking following the Russian invasion of Ukraine”.

Questions raised in the investigation include that the detection and identification process is not based on any legal basis and that An Garda Síochána is the only authority for identifying victims.

According to ESRI, this could deter victims of human trafficking from coming forward.

While training of frontline workers is taking place in a variety of sectors, including social work and immigration services, stakeholders surveyed indicated that more training and vetting mechanisms are needed.

Non-governmental advocacy groups have also raised concerns about the effectiveness of detection methods such as Garda operations and workplace inspections.

In terms of protecting victims, unsuitable housing for them has been identified as a problem. There is currently no specialized accommodation facility for victims of human trafficking.

The majority remain in International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) shelters, but these centers are deemed inappropriate by non-governmental stakeholders, who recommended setting up a gender-sensitive center for victims.

In a report from late last year, the immigrant reports
The Irish Council said the lack of adequate shelter had exposed victims of trafficking to “discriminatory practices, a risk of poverty and the risk of being trafficked again”.

Concerns have been raised as to whether the staff and management of the IPAS centers are adequately trained in human trafficking issues and the necessary support.

The non-governmental organizations interviewed for the study emphasized that further efforts are needed to identify victims of human harm
Trafficking in human beings, particularly with regard to screening and in
formation of the front line

The research also identified some good practices, including the firewall between the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Justice put in place to support social welfare during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This enabled undocumented individuals who would otherwise have been at risk.
are able to be exploited as a result of losing their jobs in order to access social assistance without fear of their immigration status being disclosed. Sexual exploitation the main drivers of human trafficking

Fry Electronics Team

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