Ireland has been kept on the Tier-Two Watch List for the second consecutive year according to the recently published 2021 Trafficking in Persons (TiP) report.
Published by the U.S. Department of State, the 2021 TiP report notes that while the Irish government has made significant efforts to eliminate trafficking in persons, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period. Some of the efforts highlighted in the report include the designation of an independent human trafficking national rapporteur; establishment of a formal national anti-trafficking forum composed of interagency and civil society stakeholders; a national anti-trafficking public awareness campaign; and increased funding for victim assistance.
However, according to the report, the government maintained inadequate law enforcement efforts; maintained inadequate victim protection efforts; provided unsuitable accommodation arrangements for victims and potential victims through its direct provision system; did not provide compensation to victims of trafficking; and remained without a specific legal provision on the non-punishment of victims of trafficking.
Ireland stayed at Tier One from 2014 to 2017. In 2018, Ireland moved down to Tier Two where it was also kept for 2019. In 2020, Ireland was moved down to the Tier Two Watch List category.
The Department of Justice expressed disappointment that the US State Department did not acknowledge as sufficient the progress that has been made to upgrade Ireland’s ranking. While appreciating the lead that the US takes in producing the report, Minister of State for Criminal and Civil Justice Hildegarde Naughton TD described how Ireland has nonetheless made significant progress in the last year. Naughton highlighted recent efforts to develop a more victim-centred approach to identifying and supporting victims, as well as its ongoing awareness and training work.
A recent Report on Human Trafficking and Exploitation Project on the Island of Ireland from researchers at Mary Immaculate College found that between 2014 and 2019, the true number of trafficking victims was approximately 38 percent higher than the official national statistics.
The EMN will undertake an EU-wide study on trafficking in human beings during 2021.
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