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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 458 - Human Trafficking [16539/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 458 - Human Trafficking [16539/14]. (08 Apr 2014)


458. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will meet with representatives of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland to discuss trafficking for forced labour here, with particular regard to trafficking for forced labour in cannabis production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16539/14] 

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter):  I have no plans to meet the Migrants Rights Centre Ireland at this time. As the Deputy will be aware, the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Amendment Act 2013 which came into effect in August of last year expanded the definition of human trafficking in the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 to include inter alia trafficking for the purposes of forced illegal activities for commercial gain. Trafficking for forced labour in cannabis production could come within this expanded definition. The 2013 Act, for the purpose of clarity, also defined forced labour, with some stated exceptions, as a work or service which is exacted from a person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily. 

I am aware that the Migrants Rights Centre Ireland have articulated their views on this matter in a number of fora. I am of the view that, at this time, it would be helpful for the Migrants Rights Centre to have discussions with other stake-holders within the consultative structures chaired by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of my Department, particularly within the Labour Exploitation and National Referral Working Groups. These Working Groups provide a forum where issues arising out of the implementation of the expanded definition of human trafficking for forced participation in criminal activities such as cannabis cultivation can be examined and discussed at a practical level.

Migrants Rights Centre Ireland participates in an intensive three day training course entitled “Trafficking in Human Beings; Prevention, Protection, Partnership and Prosecution” undertaken by members of An Garda Síochána. Almost 700 members of An Garda Síochána have now received this training. The overriding aim of the training is to provide members of An Garda Síochána with knowledge of indicators of all the forms of human trafficking, where to look and how to identify victims of human trafficking. Recently, the training programme has included a module addressing the potential link between human trafficking and cannabis grow houses emphasising the indicators of human trafficking which may indicate a person working in such locations is a victim of human trafficking.

The prevention and detection of human trafficking in all its forms and the protection of its victims has been a policing priority for An Garda Síochána for the past number of years and it remains a priority in 2014.

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