General information: situation on trafficking in human beings
The Criminal Justice Policy function of the Department of Justice leads and coordinates Ireland’s national anti-trafficking strategy. The unit is supported by specialists from the Immigration Service Delivery and the Corporate Funds Administration.
Further dedicated units in national agencies have been created as a response to Ireland’s international obligations to provide services to victims of human trafficking. These include the Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-ordination Unit (HTICU) within An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force) and the Anti-Human Trafficking Team in the Health Service Executive (HSE).
The Department of Justice also continues to work with a range of government departments and agencies to tackle human trafficking:
- the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Affairs
- the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
- the Department of Health
- the Department of Social Protection
- the Department of Defense
- the Child and Family Agency - Tusla
- the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
- the Legal Aid Board
- the Workplace Relations Commission
The EU Anti Trafficking Directive and the national Criminal Law Act are the most important laws that are the focus of investigations undertaken by An Garda Siochana and the HTICU. In this regard, An Garda Siochana is a participant in a High Level Group including the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which keeps the legislative and operational framework for investigation and prosecution of trafficking under review.
National Referral Mechanism (NRM)
In May 2021, the Government approved plans for a revised National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to make it easier for victims of human trafficking to come forward and be supported. A new law plans to be drafted to put the new NRM on a statutory footing.
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. It is the framework through which Ireland fulfils its obligations to protect and promote the human rights of trafficking victims. The proposals will make it easier for victims to come forward and be officially recognised as victims of human trafficking in order to receive appropriate supports.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has been designated as Ireland’s independent National Rapporteur for Trafficking in human beings under article 19 of the EU Human Trafficking Directive. Its responsibilities include the monitoring of the implementation of anti-trafficking policy and playing a key role in data collection on trafficking in human beings.
Information on statistics and contact details for An Garda Síochána can be found on Ireland’s dedicated anti-human trafficking website: www.blueblindfold.ie. The website also includes information about support services available to victims of human trafficking, anti-trafficking law enforcement activity, legislation, and the roles of relevant government departments and bodies.