Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (248)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

248. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of requests received under the European arrest warrant Act 2003 that sought the extradition of persons for human trafficking and or human smuggling offences in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52557/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The European Arrest Warrant is a valuable mechanism that helps ensure that dangerous criminals, including those involved in human trafficking and human smuggling, can be apprehended, keeping EU citizens safer as a result.  It provides for an enhanced extradition process within the European Union.

The following table sets out the number of requests received under the European Arrest Warrant Act 2003 that sought the extradition of persons for human trafficking and or human smuggling offences in the years requested by the Deputy.

Year 

 Number of relevant requests

 2017

 2018

 13

 2019

 16

More generally, I wish to confirm for the Deputy that Government is fully committed to addressing human trafficking in all forms under Irish and EU legislation and the principal international conventions, and that we are active nationally and internationally to do so. With regard to international treaties, 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).

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

In Ireland, the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 and Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Act 2013 are the relevant legislative measures.

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 ratification 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.

Domestically, the Second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking was launched in 2016. The Action Plan involves a victim-centred and human rights based approach with the ultimate aims of preventing human trafficking, ensuring an effective criminal justice response and delivery of supports to victims.

The Deputy may also wish to note 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, which is maintained by my Department.