"1,000 Human Trafficking Cases Before Courts, Only Three People Convicted in Past Decade" - Tóibín
A total of 199 people have been charged under Human Trafficking legislation in Ireland since 2010 new figures reveal.
New figures released by the Department of Justice to Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD show that 199 people have been charged under the Trafficking Act of 2000 and the Human Trafficking Act of 2008. In addition to this, a further 382 incidents of human trafficking offences have been reported and either remain under investigation or for which charges have been created under other legislation.
Since 2010, over 1,000 offenses of sexual exploitation or trafficking of people have been before the courts - the vast majority of these offenses relate to the sexual exploitation of children. A mere three people have actually been convicted in the district court.
Reacting to the statistics released to him, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD said:
"These figures highlight the flaws in our legislation - we know that Ireland has been marked as a tier two watchlist country by the US State Department in a recent report regarding Human Trafficking. We know that we have a phenomenal problem in relation to trafficking in this country, and yet over the course of the past decade only three people have been convicted in the district court. This week in the Dáil we will finally ratify the UN's protocol against the smuggling of migrants after an eye-watering twenty-one year wait!"
Deputy Tóibín continued: "While this legislation is to be welcomed and we do need legislation with more teeth on this issue, there are some flaws with the Bill and Aontú supported the amendments to the legislation seeking to make it easier for people to come forward and report acts of smuggling. The legislation is silent on the rights of the migrant - we need to ensure that nobody faces prosecution for the act of being smuggled. We must also ensure that the law does not target people engaged in humanitarian work who are rescuing migrants. Smuggling and Human Trafficking are slightly different topics, but I would call for a full and proper debate in the Dáil on human trafficking. We should be looking to strengthen this legislation further to ensure that people who exploit migrants, especially children for labour or sexual abuse are convicted and jailed".
“I imagine the reason that the number of convictions is so low is largely because our laws aren't strong enough on the issue of human trafficking or smuggling of persons, and hopefully the Bill currently before the house will go some way towards strengthening the law. In addition to this I think we need to examine other possible reasons - are people who have been smuggled here afraid to come forward to report their abusers because of fear of prosecution or deportation themselves? This issue is not dealt with in the Bill before the house, and it looks as though the government have opposed amendment seeking to enshrine protections for smuggled persons in law, which is very disappointing”, concluded Tóibín.