Group: Not enough done on human trafficking

RUHAMA, the organisation working with women in prostitution, has criticised the Government for only offering protection to a handful of victims of trafficking, even though almost 50 incidents of the crime have been recorded in only the first nine months of this year.

This is the first year that human trafficking has been classified by the Central Statistics Office as a separate crime and its most recent statistics show there were 15 incidents recorded in the third quarter of 2009. That compared to just four cases in the same period last year. There have been 46 cases of human trafficking so far in 2009.

“We welcome the official recognition of Human Trafficking in the CSO statistics and these figures do not surprise us,” said Gerardine Rowley of Ruhama.

“Human trafficking needs to be made a policing priority. We would like to see in further CSO statistics a breakdown of how many reports were for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Given the fact that the figures for reported crimes of human trafficking have now been confirmed, it is surprising that such a low number of suspected victims of human trafficking have been granted the new protective measures under the Dept of Justice administrative system.”

There have been fewer than 10 suspected victims of human trafficking granted the six-month rest and reflection period recommended by the European guidelines which have been adopted by the Government.

And even though there have been 46 detections of the offence this year alone, there have been few if any prosecutions under the new Criminal Law Human Trafficking Act 2008.

International approaches to policing sex trafficking will be discussed and debated at a conference in Dublin next week. The event has been organised by the Dignity Project, a transnational project involving partners from Scotland, Lithuania, Spain and Ireland, who are examining examples of promising practice in delivery of services to victims of sex trafficking.

At the conference the partners will discuss progress and learning from the first year of the project on November 3-4, before holding the policing conference on November 5. Policing experts from Britain and Sweden in the field of sex trafficking, as well as the Garda National Immigration Bureau, will address delegates.

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