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Shatter publishes human trafficking bill to tackle forced begging

The Immigrant Council of Ireland welcomed the bill but said trafficking for sexual exploitation remains the most predominant form.

Image: Begging image via Shutterstock

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Alan Shatter today announced the publication of the Criminal Law (human trafficking amendment) Bill 2013 which will now include forced begging.

The bill is necessary to transpose criminal law provisions of a 2011 European Union (EU) directive in full. The directive had already been implemented in previous legislation but it also provides for the criminalisation of two additional forms of exploitation not covered by existing legislation – trafficking for the purposes of forced begging and trafficking for criminal activities.

Making the announcement today, Shatter said human trafficking “should not be tolerated” and that everything possible should be done “to ensure the protection of those vulnerable to it”.

The bill adopts the International Labour Organisation definition of forced labour as “a work or service which is exacted from a person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily”.

Commenting on the bill, Nusha Yonkova, head of the anti-trafficking unit at the Immigrant Council of Ireland, told TheJournal.ie that it now brings us in line with the rest of the member states.

“It’s not unexpected because we have to implement the directive by April anyway but we welcome it very much because the EU has a modern and comprehensive definition and this enriches our original definition of human trafficking,” she said.

Yonkova said that forced labour in Ireland is a “significant problem” but that it is apparent from recent reports that trafficking for sexual exploitation remains by far the most predominant form in Europe, including here.

A report published today showed that 13 Irish citizens were suspected of being involved in human trafficking between 2008 and 2010 but none were ever prosecuted.

Read: Report shows that out of 13 suspected Irish traffickers, none were prosecuted>
Read: Campaign against sex-trafficking targets potential punters>

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