UN experts urge Ireland to strengthen access to housing and assistance for trafficking victims
11 September 2023
GENEVA (11 September 2023) – UN experts today called on the Irish Government to take urgent steps to ensure access to housing and assistance for victims of trafficking, recognising the trauma endured by victims and ongoing needs for protection.
“We welcome the measures taken to establish a new National Referral Mechanism, to fulfil Ireland’s obligations to protect the human rights of victims of trafficking, and the publication of Ireland Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Human Trafficking) Bill 2023,” the experts said.
But they insisted that further measures were urgently needed to ensure effective access to assistance and protection measures, including safe housing.
“We call for urgent action to provide dedicated, safe accommodation for victims of trafficking, and to implement a statutory framework for assistance measures, including medical assistance, psycho-social support, and legal aid, in partnership with civil society organisations,” they said.
The experts said particular focus was necessary on the gender dimension of trafficking, the risks of trafficking for migrant women, and the need for specialised assistance and protection measures.
“As a new National Referral Mechanism is developed, it is critical that civil society organisations and statutory bodies are well resourced to strengthen prevention of trafficking and ensure equal protection of all victims,” they said. “Trafficking is a serious human rights violation and a serious crime, and victims have a right to effective remedies and to protection, without discrimination,” they added.
The experts have been in contact with the Government of Ireland regarding these concerns.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity