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Accommodation unit to be set up for victims of sexual exploitation living in Direct Provision

It comes after Ireland was downgraded in an assessment of its response to eliminating human trafficking.

AN ACCOMMODATION UNIT for women living in Direct Provision who have suffered sexual exploitation is to be set up, the Department of Justice & Equality has confirmed to TheJournal.ie.

The dedicated unit will be located in the East of the country and will be run by DePaul and Ruhama, an Irish charity offering support to women affected by commercial sexual exploitation.

Mary Henderson, solicitor with the Immigrant Council of Ireland said it is an “utter disgrace” that victims of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation have been housed in Direct Provision for so long. 

“These women have been to hell and back and deserve dedicated and sensitive support in their recovery, which is nearly impossible to provide in those circumstances,” she said. 

“The Immigrant Council of Ireland have long reinforced the pleas of our clients to introduce accommodation which puts the women’s recovery first.”

Ruhama CEO Barbara Condon said that the dedicated unit will offer support to women “relevant to their needs” through a case management model. 

This approach, she said, fulfils a need for “safe gender-segregated accommodation to be provided to victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.”

The development comes after Ireland was downgraded in an assessment of its response to eliminating human trafficking by a US State department annual report in June.

The Trafficking in Persons Report 2020, which was published by the US Department of State, reduced Ireland’s ranking from tier two to a tier two watchlist, meaning the country has not increased its efforts to eliminate trafficking since last year.

Other countries in this category include Armenia, Chad, Hong Kong and Romania. Ireland is the only country in western Europe in this watchlist.

The report said Ireland doesn’t fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so.

“The government continued to have systematic deficiencies in victim identification, referral, and assistance,” the report says.

However, the report said Ireland has increased prosecutions and funding to NGOs for victim assistance.

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The government didn’t show an increased effort overall compared to the last reporting period, the report said.

It says “human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Ireland” as well as exploiting victims from Ireland abroad.

Said Mary Henderson: “This announcement is well overdue, but hopefully a good start towards addressing the complex issues faced by victims of trafficking in their recovery.”

“We welcome this progress and look forward to continuing to provide support to women who have survived trauma and are navigating the complex journey forward in a more appropriate setting.”

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