APT/AMRI amongst group of NGOs to meet OSCE Special Representative for Combating Human Trafficking.

On 18 February 2020, nine APT/AMRI members joined representatives from MECPATHS, RUHAMA, the ICI, UCD and more at a special meeting between Mr. Valiant Richey, OSCE Special Representative for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and NGO’s in Ireland working to combat Human Trafficking and exploitation.

Below is the preliminary report from the OSCE, on the three-day visit (18-20 February 2020).

”After a stalled response to human trafficking, Irish officials are showing a renewed commitment to addressing the issue, said Valiant Richey, OSCE Special Representative for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings as he concluded on 20 February a three-day visit to Ireland to observe its response to trafficking and to provide recommendations on ways to strengthen it.

During the visit, the Special Representative met with a wide range of interlocutors, including high-level government officials from the Ministry of Justice, An Garda Siochana (Ireland’s police force), the Directorate of the Public Prosecution, the Human Rights and Equality Commission, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, health services executives, the Workplace Commission and the Legal Aid Board. He also consulted with a wide group of anti-trafficking NGOs, academia and the Ombudsman for Children. Richey also visited the Balseskin Reception Centre for asylum seekers, which also accommodates trafficked persons.

Identification of and assistance to trafficked victims remain among the most urgent challenges to be addressed in Ireland. Richey urged officials to strengthen the country’s response through clear co-ordination and improved policy and procedures regulating victim identification and assistance. “An identification procedure should be based on victim needs, not on their co-operation with criminal proceedings,” Richey noted. “Properly supporting trafficked persons is likely to improve outcomes in criminal cases.”

“I am pleased to learn about the plans of the Irish Department of Justice and Equality to enhance coordination and monitoring and to emphasize investigation and prosecution of traffickers. Ireland has recently shown a renewed commitment to combat human trafficking,” Richey commented. “I am confident that, with targeted action, the country can strengthen its anti-trafficking response including by strengthening victim assistance, establishing dedicated housing and access to employment, and providing adequate social welfare and health care for trafficked persons”.

“The visit also served as an opportunity to explore the experience of Ireland in addressing the demand that fuels human trafficking for sexual exploitation,” Richey said, noting that more robust implementation of the 2017 law prohibiting the purchase of sexual services was needed.

The Special Representative regularly conducts country visits to increase the capacity of OSCE participating States to address human trafficking, as well as to share knowledge and collect best practices fighting this heinous crime.


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