This Act creates offences criminalising trafficking in persons for the purposes of sexual or labour exploitation, or for the removal of their organs, and criminalises the selling or purchasing of human beings. The Act criminalises the trafficking of children into, through or out of the State, and amends the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 to bring the offence of trafficking into line with other new trafficking offences. The Act also criminalises trafficking in adults. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment. Extra-territorial jurisdictions are established. Anonymity is guaranteed for those who testify in court against alleged traffickers.
Courts are given power to exclude people from the Court for the purpose of ensuring a lack of publicity. The scope of the Criminal Evidence Act 1992 is extended to offences created by the new Act, allowing for victims of trafficking to give evidence via television link. The Act does not, however, contain detailed provisions to support and protect victims of trafficking, and has been criticised in this regard. (Amnesty, 11 October 2007)
The regulatory impact analysis states that the then Bill was solely concerned with the criminal law response to trafficking, and that the protection of victims of trafficking will be dealt with administratively. The Act seeks to implement two EU Framework Decisions: the Framework Decision on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (for the purpose of labour and sexual exploitation) and the Framework Decision on Combating the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography.