Monday, November 12, 2007

Ireland Human Trafficking Bill Falls Short

From the Irish Times:

Amnesty International has welcomed new legislation aimed at tackling human trafficking but said it falls short in the protection and support of victims. The Criminal Law Human Trafficking Bill, unveiled earlier today by the Minister for Justice, gives expanded powers to gardaĆ­ to investigate cases of human trafficking. However, the new legislation does not contain detailed provisions to support and protect victims, apart from guaranteeing the right to anonymity for those who testify in court against the trafficker.

Questioned as to whether victims of the crime would automatically be considered immune from prosecution for other misdemeanors, such as entering the country illegally, Mr Lenihan said it would not be possible to guarantee immunity and that such matters would be at the discretion of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Amnesty said it welcomed the anonymity provision of the legislation and the proposal to exclude members of the public from proceedings where publicity might place trafficking victims or their families at risk.

Read the full article

It's good that they have a bill against trafficking, but honestly how many victims do they expect to come forward and file cases if there is a chance they can get prosecuted for other misdemeanors including entering the country illegally? It shows a lack of perspective on part of the Irish government- it is to their benefit to support the victims and ensure their non-criminal status because in doing so, they not only give the victims the services and support they need and deserve but also, by offering services which can encourage victims to pursue cases, improve the chances of traffickers being convicted thus increasing the risk/cost of operating in Ireland . Even the chance that victims can be prosecuted drastically decreases the likelihood that they will file a case against the traffickers. As a result, traffickers will not be convicted, legal repercussions for their crimes will continue to be negligible and business will continue as usual.

Instituting an anti-trafficking law is a good first step, but equally important is drafting a law that fully supports victims and maximizes the likelihood of putting traffickers behind bars.
Currently, Ireland's Criminal Law Human Trafficking Bill does neither.

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