An anti-human trafficking expert is leveling criticism at proposed legislation by the Irish Government, claiming it lacks protections and forces survivors to “prove” they were trafficked. This means survivors may stay in exploitative conditions rather than risk coming forward.
Prove you’re a victim, then we can talk
Kevin Hyland acted as Britain’s first independent anti-slavery commissioner and served 30 years as a police officer in the UK. Hyland sees several problems with the Government’s Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, the first of which is that survivors of human trafficking will have to fill in an application before they can be “recognized” as a survivor.
“Can you imagine if you or I went into a garda station to record that we’d been robbed, or our house had been broken into, and they said, ‘you can make an application to be considered’.”
Another important aspect not addressed in the bill is the non-punishment principle required by the Council of Europe and the EU Directive. This is important as it removes the fear of being punished for offenses survivors were forced to do when they were trafficked. Fear of prosecution is a considerable barrier for many survivors of modern slavery, preventing them from coming forward to law enforcement. Without the testimony of the survivors, it is extremely difficult to find and prosecute the traffickers.