181. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Justice the details of the collaboration that exists between her Department and a group (details supplied) with respect to combatting human trafficking; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49943/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): I understand that the Santa Martha Group, established in 2014, is a global partnership between the Roman Catholic Church and International Police forces, including An Garda Síochána, dedicated to eradicating human trafficking and modern day slavery. In Ireland, the Santa Martha Executive Working Group tasked the Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick to submit a report titled, ‘Human Trafficking and Exploitation Project on the Island of Ireland’.
Mary Immaculate College collaborated with An Garda Síochána, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland and my Department in connection with the report. An Garda Síochána provided official figures on human trafficking in this jurisdiction. These figures were also provided to the Department of Justice for the annual Trafficking in Persons (TiPs) report compiled by the United States State Department.
Members of the Human Trafficking Investigation and Co-ordination Unit within the Garda National Protective Services Bureau also made available their expertise to the researchers throughout the lifespan of the project.