Government needs to ensure victims of trafficking are supported
Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has called on the Minister for Justice to ensure that supports and assistance will be provided to trafficking victims after criminal proceedings have concluded.
The Sinn Féin Junior Spokesperson on Justice was speaking during a debate on the Criminal Justice (Human Trafficking) Bill, which was introduced in the Seanad today.
“Human trafficking is an odious crime. It is dehumanising, exploitative, and robs people of their dignity. We must ensure that it is effectively combatted, and that the victims of this crime are well protected.
“Around the globe, and across Ireland, there are significant numbers of people trafficked to work in the domestic sector, as well as in the agriculture and catering industries.
“This legislation puts in place an autonomous offence of Forced Labour and brings us in to line with the EU Directive on Human Trafficking. Sinn Féin has long called for this because there were difficulties in identifying and securing convictions on the charge of trafficking for forced labour. This is a welcome step and we will be supporting this legislation.
“However, in addition to ensuring that those responsible for trafficking of humans were convicted, it is also essential that the victims of trafficking are supported after the end of criminal proceedings. They should not simply be abandoned.
“We believe that there should be a full range of protection and support measures including medical, professional, legal and psychosocial assistance, that’s tailored to their needs, and their families.”
Senator Ó Clochartaigh also stated that the accommodation in which many victims are housed are totally unfit for purpose.
“Direct Provision is institutional in nature and does not cater for the need of genders. It’s totally inadequate and inappropriate and, according to the Immigrant Council, it is questionable whether it meets the EU directives requirement for appropriate and safe accommodation.”