277. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Justice her plans to address the downgrading of Ireland to a tier-two country in the 2018 and 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17746/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Government is fully committed to addressing human trafficking in all forms, including through the provision of supports for victims of human trafficking, by educating the public to recognise the signs of trafficking and by continuing to work with our international partners in all relevant forums.
Officials within my Department have been preparing Ireland’s response to the TIP questionnaire for a number of months. A response has been submitted to the U.S. Embassy for onwards transmission to the State Department, and officials are in regular communication with the Embassy to answer follow up queries and provide further input as required in that dialogue.
Our response to this year's Questionnaire outlines a number of measures that we have progressed in order to tackle human trafficking in Ireland.
The initiatives progressed by my Department and An Garda Síochána within the last year clearly demonstrate our commitment to tackling this heinous crime. Among the measures highlighted in our response is the funding my Department has committed to NGOs working to combat human trafficking. The details are set out in the tables below.
The response also highlights the priority actions being taken to ensure victims of trafficking are identified, protected, and provided with all the supports needed. To this end a new wider National Referral Mechanism is being created to protect and promote the human rights of trafficking victims. The supports available under the NRM include accommodation, medical care, care planning, legal advice and aid, immigration permission, police services, employment and vocational training, translation and interpretation services and voluntary return home. I intend to bring proposals for a new NRM to Government this month.
My Department is also working with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Ireland on a Cultural Mediation project. The project will build the capacity of State professionals who work with or for migrants, to identify and address the needs of victims or potential victims of gender based violence and trafficking more effectively and to provide culturally sensitive support to them. It will also provide victims of gender based violence and trafficking better access to information and allow them to effectively engage with support and referral services. It will also promote a culturally sensitive approach to victims, through the use of cultural mediators.
|Ruhama including COVID||€609,868|
|Ruhama Exit Pathways||€27,620|
|IOM Cultural Mediation Service Project II||€250,000|
|Dormant Account Funding|
Awareness Raising/Frontline Training
|Migrant Rights Centre Ireland||€28,754 to develop information resources and training on awareness of Human Trafficking for labour exploitation|
|Immigrant Council of Ireland||€35,000 for development and delivery of introductory and advanced online training modules on awareness raising of human trafficking in Ireland|
|MECPATHS||€20,398 for development and delivery of online education and awareness raising of human trafficking in Ireland to frontline professionals and students within the hospitality and services sectors and now for the aviation sector|
|DORAS||€23,552 for development and delivery of training and information resources on awareness raising of human trafficking aimed at frontline staff and volunteers to build capacity|