Thursday, 18 October 2007

Trafficking of Women and Children in Ireland

A report prepared by a research team from NUI Galway and released today includes findings that human trafficking is a more significant problem in Ireland than sometimes intimated by the Government (RTÉ News).

The timing of the report, which is available here, is interesting coming as it does just a week after the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform commenced the long-awaited Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Bill 2007 and only a few weeks after the Gardaí began work on Pantameter 2 (considered here).

The Bill incorporates the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings in part and takes into the EU Council Framework Decision on combating trafficking in persons, and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill explains its purpose thus:



The primary purpose of the Bill is to create offences criminalising trafficking in persons for the specific purposes of their sexual or labour exploitation or the removal of their organs and to provide severe penalties for anyone found guilty of committing the offences. The offences are in line with international norms….It also criminalises the selling or purchasing of human beings, both children and adults, for any purpose. The sale of children for the purpose of exploitation is a requirement of the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.


In relation to children, the Bill complements the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 which already criminalises the trafficking (and organisation of trafficking) of children for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

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Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Pantameter 2: Police Action on Trafficking

RTÉ News reports that the Irish and British police forces are today going to announce the launch of Pantameter 2; a transnational policing operation aimed at combating human trafficking (primarily, but not exclusively, sex trafficking). Operation Pantameter (1) was a similar operation run in the UK that resulted in the rescue of 84 "trafficking victims" and an additional 104 women at risk, 232 arrests and 134 indictments (Operation Report). The UK's police force has a dedicated pentameter website which today displays some information on Pentameter 2, including a brief statement about the aims and policies underlying the initiative:
There is particular emphasis on understanding the nature and extent of trafficking, the involvement of organised crime groups and attacking the assets of such groups....One of the strategic aims of UKP2 is to increase knowledge and understanding of all forms of human trafficking in the UK but also raise awareness of the issue....2007 marks the passage of 200 years since Parliament passed the Act to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire. In this bicentenary year, the Government has indicated a commitment to redoubling efforts to address this modern day form of slavery.

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