Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (316)

Micheál Martin

Question:

316. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if legislation needs to be amended to prevent Ireland from being a target for human trafficking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44615/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Ireland is fully committed to addressing the challenges of human trafficking under Irish and EU legislation and the principal international conventions. Co-ordination of national efforts in this area is the responsibility of my Department.

Ireland has ratified the principal international Human Trafficking treaties:

- The Palermo Protocol (2000) to the UN Convention against Organised Crime

- The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (2005)

In the EU and Ireland, the following legislation is relevant:

- EU Anti Trafficking Directive (2011/36/EU)

- Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 and Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Act 2013

In February this year, Ireland ratified the ILO Forced Labour Protocol, which reinforces the international legal framework for combating all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons. This initiative, by my colleague the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, puts Ireland among the group known as “50 for Freedom”, which stems from an ILO initiative to encourage member countries to ratify the Protocol by the end of 2019.

I would also note that An Garda Síochána has committed significant resources to the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking. A specialised Garda Unit, the Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-ordination Unit (HTICU), has been established to coordinate delivery of national strategy.

Finally, I would point out that action is also being taken to raise public awareness in Ireland and help members of the public identify the signs of human trafficking. More information is available on the “Blue Blindfold” website, http://www.blueblindfold.gov.ie, maintained by my Department.