UN rappateour critical of government's attitude to trafficking
The UN Rappateour for Trafficking has criticised the Irish government's approach to trafficking and their legislation tackling it.
Sigma Huda says the Irish government “needs to realise that trafficking is not illegal immigration, prosecute the traffickers and give the victims of trafficking some space to recover.” She is critical of the Irish government for failing to sign the Council of Europe's Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and ratify a number of UN protocols relating to trafficking.
At present there are two pieces of legislation that deal with trafficking in Ireland - the Child Trafficking and Pornography act 1998 and the Illegal Immigrants Trafficking Act 2000. However there have been no trafficking convictions under these pieces of legislation. Also there is no offence for trafficking an adult into Ireland at present, as the legislation just addressees child trafficking.
Last July the government published a trafficking bill to rectify some of these issues but Sigma Huda, says the bill “should be more victim friendly and more forceful against traffickers”.
She urged the Irish government to look to Swedish legislation on prostitution and trafficking which she says is the best example in Europe.
She says that trafficking is a “big problem in Europe” and there is lots of trafficking from Eastern Europe and the Baltic states and into Ireland.
Over the last few years there has been an increasing concern that Ireland is a destination for trafficked people. In particular Eastern European women destined for the sex trade. Ruhama, who work with women involved in prostitution says trafficking is a rising problem. They have worked with up to 40 women who claimed to have been brought into the country to work in the sex industry.
Ireland was mentioned in a US State Department report on trafficking for the first time this year. It said: “there are reports which suggest that Ireland is a transit and destination country for a significant number of trafficking victims.