On EU Anti-Trafficking Day 7 NGOs release joint Open Letter calling on Minister McEntee to guarantee immigration status for victims of trafficking
Today (Wednesday 18th October – EU Anti-Trafficking Day), seven migrant NGO’s have published an open letter to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee calling on her to ensure that immigration status for victims of trafficking is enshrined in legislation as part of the upcoming Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences and Human Trafficking) Bill 2023.
The joint open letter states “Many traffickers use threats of arrest and deportation to control their victims. Therefore, the provision of immigration permission is critical, encouraging more people to come forward and enabling access to services and supports.”
It is undeniable that Ireland is failing to adequately fight the crime of human trafficking. The number of identified victims in 2022 was just 42 people. To date, there have only been two criminal convictions ever in Ireland for the crime of human trafficking. This has not gone unnoticed at home or abroad: recently, Ireland spent two years on the U.S. State Department’s watchlist for its perceived failures to address human trafficking.
According to Isabel Toolan, MRCI Anti-trafficking Lead, “In 2023’s Trafficking in Person’s Report by the U.S. State Department, Ireland remains in the category of countries whose governments do not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and continues to have ‘chronic and systemic deficiencies in victim identification.’”
Joe (name changed to protect his identity), a person identified as a victim of trafficking who is being supported by MRCI’s anti-trafficking work added “My employer always threatened me by saying you will lose your status and become undocumented if you leave and report this situation. It will help a lot of people if they know that they will be protected if they come forward.”
Isabel Toolan, 0873305142
Neil Bruton, 0834260081
Notes for the Editor
- The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Human Trafficking) Bill 2023 has passed second stage and is coming to Committee Stage in November 2023
- Link to open letter: https://www.mrci.ie/anti-trafficking-open-letter-to-minister-mcentee/
- 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report: Ireland: https://www.state.gov/reports/2023-trafficking-in-persons-report/ireland/
- IHREC Report: Trafficking in Human Beings in Ireland: Second Evaluation of the Implementation of the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive https://www.ihrec.ie/documents/second-evaluation-of-the-implementation-of-the-eu-anti-trafficking-directive/