Shatter Announces Publication of General Scheme of Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Bill
Following approval of the Minister’s proposals at the Government meeting of the 18 December, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence has published the general scheme of the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Bill. The general scheme has been forwarded to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for drafting.
This short Bill is necessary to transpose in full the substantive criminal law measures in an EU directive on human trafficking. Most of the directive’s criminal law provisions are already implemented by the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008. However, the directive provides for the criminalisation of two additional forms of exploitation not covered by existing legislation, i.e., trafficking for the purposes of forced begging and trafficking for criminal activities.
Announcing publication of the general scheme, Minister Shatter said "In order to tackle recent developments in the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings, the EU directive adopts a broader concept of what should be considered human trafficking than previously. To fully comply with the directive’s minimum definition of exploitation, the general scheme criminalises trafficking for the purposes of forced begging and trafficking for criminal activities. Human trafficking is an abhorrent abuse of human rights and our legislation must keep pace with global developments in this heinous crime".
Minister Shatter added "I am also taking this opportunity, in the interest of clarity, to define the term ‘forced labour’ as used in the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008. The term is not explicitly defined in the 2008 legislation. The general scheme provides that ‘forced labour’ has the same meaning as it has in International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 29 of 1930 on Forced or Compulsory Labour. The ILO definition is ‘all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the person has not offered himself voluntarily."
The General Scheme of the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) (Amendment) Bill is available on the Department’s website (www.justice.ie).
7 January 2013
Notes for Editors
Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA was adopted in April, 2011.
Existing legislation in this jurisdiction criminalises human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, labour exploitation and exploitation for the removal of human organs.
In addition to the above forms of exploitation, the EU Directive also requires criminalisation of trafficking for the purposes of forced begging and trafficking for criminal activities, e.g., pick-pocketing, shop-lifting, and drug trafficking.