Victims of slavery are being left in limbo and failed by the State, campaigners have claimed.
Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) will tomorrow mark International Day for the Abolition of Slavery with a national conference on identifying victims of trafficking for forced labour.
MCRI has assisted more than 200 men and women found in forced labour in Ireland in recent years.
Maria – a victim of domestic slavery for a decade – said she still does not know what the future will bring.
“I feel like I lost 10 years of my life,” she said.
“Now, even though I am no longer in slavery, I have nothing.
“I have spent the last year and half in a direct provision hostel, waiting for the investigation to finish.
“All I can do is wait. I don’t know what to expect for the future.”
MCRI claims victims are being failed by the State and are being left in limbo, unprotected and unable to move on.
Pablo Rojas Coppari said: “Victims are not even being given the time they need to recover.
“If Ireland is serious about combating human trafficking and protecting victims, people need to be officially identified as victims quickly – within 24 hours of their escape.
“They should then be granted a 60-day recovery and reflection period. This would provide security, protection and access to the services they need to help them to overcome their trauma.”
Experts from Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (Greta) will be among those discussing how Ireland can best identify and protect victims of slavery.
It recently urged Ireland to provide secure and safe accommodation, rather than the current policy of placing victims in direct provision.
Alina Brasoveanu, of Greta, wants authorities to ensure all victims of trafficking are properly identified.
“The Government should ensure that all possible victims of trafficking are offered a recovery and reflection period,” she added.