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US Department of State. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. (2021) Trafficking in persons report 2021. Washington DC: US Department of State.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis with unprecedented repercussions for human rights and economic development globally, including in human trafficking. COVID-19 generated conditions that increased the number of people who experienced vulnerabilities to human trafficking and interrupted existing and planned anti-trafficking interventions. Governments across the world diverted resources toward the pandemic, often at the expense of anti-trafficking efforts, resulting in decreased protection measures and service provision for victims, reduction of preventative efforts, and hindrances to investigations and prosecutions of traffickers. At the same time, human traffickers quickly adapted to capitalize on the vulnerabilities exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic. 

Forced labor, also referred to as “labor trafficking,” encompasses the range of activities involved when a person uses force, fraud, or coercion to obtain the labor or services of another person. The “acts” element of forced labor is met when the trafficker recruits, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains a person for labor or services. The “means” element of forced labor includes a trafficker’s use of force, fraud, or coercion. The coercive scheme can include threats of force, debt manipulation, withholding of pay, confiscation of identity documents, psychological coercion, reputational harm, manipulation of the use of addictive substances, threats to other people, or other forms of coercion. The “purpose” element focuses on the perpetrator’s goal to secure labor or services. There is no limit on the location or type of industry. Traffickers can commit this crime in any sector or setting, whether legal or illicit, including but not limited to agricultural fields, factories, restaurants, hotels, massage parlors, retail stores, fishing vessels, mines, private homes, or drug trafficking operations. 

P.309 The Government of Ireland does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so. These efforts included designating an independent human trafficking national rapporteur and establishing a formal national anti-trafficking forum composed of interagency and civil society stakeholders. In coordination with an international organization, the government launched a national anti-trafficking public awareness campaign. The government also increased funding for victim assistance, antitrafficking public awareness campaigns, and training. However, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its antitrafficking capacity. While courts convicted one trafficker under false imprisonment charges, the government has not obtained a trafficking conviction under the anti-trafficking law since it was amended in 2013, which weakened deterrence, contributed to impunity for traffickers, and undermined efforts to support victims to testify. The government investigated and prosecuted fewer suspected traffickers, did not prosecute any labor traffickers, and victim identification decreased for the fourth year in a row. The government continued to have systemic deficiencies in victim identification, referral, and assistance, and lacked specialized accommodation and adequate services for victims. Therefore Ireland remained on Tier 2 Watch List for the second consecutive year. 

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, International, Report
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Crime prevention
June 2021
646 p.
US Department of State
Corporate Creators
US Department of State. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Place of Publication
Washington DC
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