The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D., has today welcomed the launch in Brussels of a G6 Initiative against trafficking in Human Beings. The Minister also announced the commencement of a public consultation period seeking the views of the public on what should be included in the National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking.
The G6 Initiative is a coordinated international campaign of activity to tackle the trafficking of human beings. Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Poland, Italy and Spain are participating in the Initiative which is being supported by Europol, Interpol and Eurojust.
The Initiative is a multi-strand operation marrying strategic policy development with a period of operational policing enforcement activity. The strands of the Initiative are intelligence-gathering, awareness raising, law enforcement operational activity and victim protection. Ireland will lead the strand on Awareness-Raising and will host a meeting of partner countries on this topic in Dublin in January 2008. Both senior Gardaí and officials of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform have been participating in planning meetings in The Hague and in Warsaw since April this year.
Minister Lenihan said: "The G6 Initiative is about tackling serious and organised crime in the area of human trafficking. It is also about practical cooperation between EU Member States and I offer my full support.
It is through initiatives like this, and Operation Pentameter II, that we will learn more about the problem of human trafficking in the European Union. This, in turn, will help us develop the necessary domestic structures to ensure that human trafficking does not become a substantial problem in this jurisdiction. It will also assist us in ratifying international instruments on human trafficking, in particular, the Council of Europe Convention."
Announcing the commencement of the public consultation period, the Minister said; "Today is the first EU Annual Day against Trafficking in Human Beings. To mark the occasion, my Department has commenced a public consultation on what should be included in Ireland’s first National Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Beings. Further details are available in today’s national newspapers.
This consultation phase follows the publication last week of the new Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Bill and the announcement of the establishment of a High Level Group to oversee the development of the National Action Plan.
The Trafficking Bill is a key legislative priority and debate on the Bill will commence next week. It is my intention to have this legislation enacted as quickly as possible.
Further measures to protect victims of trafficking will be included in the new Immigration Bill to be published shortly."
18 October 2007
Note for Editors
G6 is an informal grouping of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers from the six largest EU States (Germany, France, Poland, Italy, Spain and the UK) who come together to agree action on matters of mutual interest in the areas of migration, terrorism and organised crime. Ireland was invited to participate in the human trafficking initiative.
Operation Pentameter II is a coordinated campaign of law enforcement activity to tackle the trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation into the UK. The Garda National Immigration Bureau and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform are actively cooperating in Operation Pentameter II which was launched earlier this month in London. Due to the land border and the common travel area, cooperating with and contributing to such operations makes practical sense. Officers from An Garda Síochána and officials from the Department sit on the Operation’s Gold Command Team as observers and have developed new contacts throughout the policing and NGO community in the UK. This operation will run for one year.