Last Updated: Monday, 23 November 2015, 15:09 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ireland

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ireland, 5 June 2006, available at: [accessed 24 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Ireland (Tier 1)

There are reports, which the Government of Ireland is investigating, which suggest that Ireland is a transit and destination country for a significant number of trafficking victims from Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, or Asia. While Ireland has a growing population of migrants, there is not yet evidence of a large number of trafficking victims. Unaccompanied minors from various source countries, particularly in Africa, represent a vulnerable group in Ireland that is susceptible to trafficking and exploitation.

The Government of Ireland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Ireland's recent influx of immigrants suggests a vulnerable population among refugees, asylum-seekers, and economic migrants susceptible to force, fraud, and coercion by exploiters in Ireland. The Government of Ireland, newly aware of the trafficking problem, has shown openness and leadership in tackling this crime. Current law, however, does not clearly define trafficking but rather merges it with smuggling, complicating efforts to count and verify the extent of trafficking in the country. In 2005, the government began drafting and updating anti-trafficking legislation that promises to be more comprehensive. If passed, the laws will differentiate between smuggling and trafficking; criminalize trafficking of children into or out of Ireland for both sexual exploitation and forced labor; and focus on the liability of carriers in their transport of such victims. Law enforcement personnel should continue training on victim identification techniques, including key elements defining the difference between trafficking and smuggling.


The Government of Ireland demonstrated strong leadership and initiative in addressing trafficking through law enforcement means in 2005. The government vigorously investigated cases of suspected trafficking reported by NGOs, potential victims themselves, and those reported in the media. Since August 2005, police conducted a number of raids of brothels in Ireland; the government reportedly is preparing cases for prosecution. As a result, in September 2005, authorities conducted a series of raids based on allegations of trafficking in exotic dance clubs, though interviews of suspected victims did not produce evidence of trafficking. In February 2006, police launched an investigation and raided a farm suspected of managing a series of brothels via a call center operation, though again, no evidence of trafficking was found. Ireland's legislative framework includes a Child Trafficking and Pornography Act, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The Government of Ireland demonstrated strong engagement with international organizations, NGOs, and potential source countries on trafficking. In 2005, the government launched Operation Hotel to improve nationwide law enforcement coordination on trafficking. There was no evidence of official complicity in trafficking during the reporting period.


The Irish Government offered adequate protections to presumed victims of trafficking during the reporting period. While the government lacks a formal referral mechanism, police and immigration officials referred potential trafficking victims to NGOs throughout the year. Due to a lack of dedicated anti-trafficking protections and services, potential victims, especially unaccompanied children, were at risk for being trafficked. NGOs and law enforcement authorities who have contact with potential victims of trafficking estimate a range of 14 to 200 victims of trafficking in Ireland since 2001. However, there are no agreed-upon figures on the number of trafficking cases in 2005. The current number of cases under police investigation is in the single digits, while NGOs estimate that the actual number of cases may range from 14 to 35 per year.


In October 2005, the government established an inter-ministerial anti-trafficking working group composed of officials from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the police. NGOs reported excellent cooperation with government and police officials, particularly at the operational level. Ireland en Route, a loose network of government agencies, NGOs, academics, and other experts met three times in 2005 to coordinate trainings and discuss legislation, best practices, and other relevant trafficking issues in Ireland. In February 2006, the government joined the U.K. Government's "Operation Pentameter." Part of this operation includes an awareness campaign aimed at potential victims and a hotline. In 2005, the government provided $24,000 to an NGO for victim support services, specifically earmarked as funds to cover expenses while victims await court appearances. The government also dedicated $420,000 per year to assist this NGO in reforming women in prostitution.

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