Listening to the victims of trafficking

 

Sir, – This week’s report by the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) was clear – Ireland has to improve its approach, as outlined in Patrick Smyth’s article “Housing trafficking victims in asylum centres sharply criticised” (September 20th).

The Immigrant Council echoes the key findings of this report, and urges the Government to install a dedicated independent national rapporteur on trafficking in human beings to oversee the urgent action demanded.

The Finnish example shows just how effective this position can be to analyse the effectiveness of the investments in protecting the victims and informing future efforts.

The GRETA’s detailed report provides a comprehensive country overview, laying bare the areas which are working and those which need improvement.

At the heart of the report are the brave survivors; we must listen to their experience and ensure they can access justice plus the services they need.

The Immigrant Council provides legal aid to dozens of victims of trafficking every year, supporting them as they exit the horror and attempt to rebuild their lives. The key challenges facing these (mostly) women and girls, relate to the identification process and their accommodation.

Alongside our colleagues working in the area, we have long been concerned that asylum seekers cannot be formally identified as victims of trafficking if they have an asylum proceeding pending. As a result, many survivors are not able to access the supports to which they are entitled.

Identification procedures should be streamlined, and it is worrying this has not happened despite numerous signals from courts and practitioners that Ireland is failing victims. Providing safe and gender-specific accommodation for identified victims is equally significant. Both these areas are highlighted as “issues for immediate attention” by the GRETA. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN KILLORAN,

Chief Executive,

Immigrant Council

of Ireland,

St Andrew Street,

Dublin 2.