Date Released: 26 September 2013
The Group of Experts on Action against Human Trafficking (GRETA) on Thursday, 26th September, urged the Irish government to act against trafficking for forced labour and take a victim-centred approach to the growing problem of human trafficking.
Despite the 2008 legislation to tackle human trafficking, there have been no prosecutions in Ireland for trafficking for forced labour. To date, MRCI have submitted 23 trafficking cases on behalf of victims in domestic, restaurant and entertainment sectors, but the State has not formally identified any of these as victims and no traffickers have been prosecuted.
Gráinne O’ Toole of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) said, “The report echoes what we’ve been telling the Government for years now: Ireland’s lack of action is preventing victims from being assisted, and we’re in danger of allowing traffickers to go unpunished. It is significant that European experts have now underlined the same issues we have repeatedly raised – lack of protections for victims, low identification rates, repeated serious violations in diplomatic households – but what will it take for the Government to stop dragging its heels? How many more reports are needed before we take proper action against trafficking?”
Fauziah Shaari, a victim of trafficking for forced labour in Ireland, stated “I was treated as a slave. I was not allowed to go out of the house, I was threatened, I was not paid for my work. I still have not found justice. There are few rights for victims of trafficking for forced labour. We need victim’s rights to be put in to law so we can be protected.”
Ms O’ Toole added, “The government have committed to putting victims’ protections for trafficked persons on a legal footing within the promised Immigration Residency and Protection Bill. GRETA have now called on the government to take this action. Victims need to be able to come forward knowing they’ll be protected. We are working on a new case of trafficking this week and we have no confidence that the victims will be protected and the employer prosecuted. We call on the Minister Shatter to bring in this law urgently and protect the victims of this heinous crime.”