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The State is failing to spot victims of trafficking, here's why...

There is still a general onus on victims to self-report according to the ESRI.

VICTIMS TRAFFICKED TO Ireland are routinely not identified because of gaps in asylum procedures.

A new report by the ESRI think-tank and the European Migration Network shows that, while progress has been made by the State, there is still a general onus on victims to self-report.

The research, outlines that no formal system exists that formally identifies all victims of trafficking.

The only method that is currently available is when victims are identified by members of the Garda National Immigration Bureau. In most cases this only occurs after self-reporting from victims, often after a sustained period in the State.

What the ESRI and the EMN are calling for is the increased involvement from NGO groups in the early identification of victims.

“The absence of clarity around current arrangements leaves some victims of trafficking unable to access the same level of supports and protection as others,” said co-author of the report, Corona Joyce.

While some progress has been made – such as the adoption of anti-human trafficking legislation, coordination of a National Referral Mechanism and the roll-out of awareness-raising training no stand-alone, statutory identification procedure for all victims of trafficking is in place.

The report outlines that because some trafficking victims are identified and some are not, a ‘two-tier’ system has emerged.

In Ireland, if a ‘foreign national’ is identified as a potential or suspected victim of trafficking, and does not otherwise have ‘valid immigration permission’, specific administrative arrangements may be availed of.

Two forms of residence permission can then be put in place, an initial ‘recovery and reflection’ period of 60 days to allow the person time to recover from the alleged trafficking experience and to escape from any influence of the alleged perpetrators.

The time also allows trafficked victims make a decision on whether to help authorities investigate the alleged perpetrators.

A renewable, six-month ‘temporary residence permission’ is granted in cases whereby the Minister for Justice is satisfied that ‘the person has severed all relations with the alleged perpetrators of the trafficking’.

Supports include education, training and targeted work supports are also put in place for those identified as the victims of trafficking.

These supports are not provided to applicants for asylum and other statuses.

This of course only happens when a person has been identified as a potential victim of trafficking and there is limited screening of victims by authorities during asylum claims.

This is why self-reporting has become so prevalent and the role of NGOs is being recommended by the report.

Read: ‘Strongest response possible’ needed to combat human trafficking in Ireland >

Read: Are enough airline staff being trained to identify trafficking victims? >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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