Proposal for revised National Referral Mechanism for victims of trafficking in human beings approved

11 May 2021

The Government has approved plans for a revised National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to make it easier for human trafficking victims to come forward and be supported.

The revised proposal acknowledges that in addition to An Garda Síochána, other state bodies and NGOs can play a role in identifying victims of human trafficking and referring them to the NRM.

Currently the Gardaí is the sole competent authority for the formal recognition of people as victims of human trafficking. It is now proposed that the Department of Justice Immigration Services, the Department of Social Protection, the HSE, Tusla, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS) will become competent authorities for the identification of victims of human trafficking, in addition to An Garda Síochána.

Together the agencies will form a National Referral Mechanism Operational Committee which will make decisions on entry of victims into the NRM. Some NGOs will also be designated as ‘trusted partners’ and will also be able to refer victims to the NRM.

The NRM provides a way for all agencies, both State and civil society, to co-operate, share information about potential victims, identify those victims and facilitate their access to advice, accommodation, and support.

Drafting of the General Scheme of a Bill to put the new NRM on statutory footing has been approved.

The EMN will undertake an EU-wide study on on trafficking in human beings during 2021.

For more information:

See Department of Justice press release

See recent IHREC press release

See also Identifying Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings in Asylum and Forced Return Procedures: EMN Ireland report (2014)