Report reveals gaps in human trafficking screening system

By Noel Baker

Many victims of human trafficking are not being identified, according to a report which has highlighted gaps in the current screening system.

The report, entitled Identifying Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings in Asylum and Forced Return Procedures: Ireland, is part of a wider EU study and was undertaken by the ESRI as part of the European Migration Network and said the Irish system relied on victims “self-identifying” as having been trafficked into the country.

Ireland does have an initial "recovery and reflection" period of 60 days, intended to allow an alleged victim to take an "informed decision" as to whether or not to assist the authorities in relation to an investigation or prosecution in respect of alleged trafficking.

It also has a renewable, six-month "temporary residence permission" is granted in cases where the Minister is satisfied that "the person has severed all relations with the alleged perpetrators of the trafficking".

But an alleged victim of trafficking has to withdraw from the asylum process if they want to avail of permissions provided for under the AIA.

Between 2008 and 2012, just 16 people were granted a reflection period and 22 were granted a residence permit, as victims of human trafficking under the AIA.

Of this number, 15 people were offered a further longer-term residency.

Report co-author Corona Joyce said it would be worth reviewing aspects of the UK system, which operates a screening process and allows people to make referrals to two competent authorities for review.

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