Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (392)

Denis Naughten

Question:

392. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will propose to the EU Council of Ministers the introduction of mandatory training for airline staff to provide them with the skills needed to detect persons, particularly children, who are being trafficked; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14735/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016, which has been endorsed by the EU Council of Ministers, has among other issues identified the training of front-line actors in the field of human trafficking as a priority and the relevant Irish authorities are committed to working with the European Commission in this regard. This Strategy, which outlines a work programme to the end of 2016, does not propose that training for airline staff in the identification of human trafficking be made mandatory. Focus in the Strategy, is on broader training and awareness raising with front-line staff such as police officers, border guards, immigration and asylum officials, public prosecutors, housing, labour, health, social and safety inspectors, civil society organisations, trade unions and employers organisations among others.

Training for airline and other staff in the transport sector is, I believe, of benefit in the detection of human trafficking. In 2012 the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of my Department, in consultation with their counterparts in the United Kingdom, developed a training resource for airline staff and this is available on the my Department's dedicated anti-human trafficking website www.blueblindfold.gov.ie. Since that time, joint communications by the Irish and United Kingdom authorities have been made with airlines flying into and out of both jurisdictions seeking their support to help in the fight against human trafficking by providing training to airline staff on the indicators of human trafficking.

The EU Strategy will be the subject of evaluation and renewal in the coming years and the issue of training for staff such as those in the airline industry, whether on a mandatory or voluntary basis, will likely be considered in that context.