Direct Provision placing sex trafficking victims in danger
Frontline agencies outline alternatives in submission to Minister
Warning that women are in 'immediate danger' of abuse, threats and violence
Statement by the Immigrant Council of Ireland
The placing of detected victims of sex-trafficking in Direct Provision Centres puts them in immediate danger of abuse, threats and a return to prostitution, according to four frontline agencies in a submission to the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD.
The submission, published today (Monday, 22nd Sept 2014), highlights international criticism of Ireland for failing to protect those who have been sexually exploited and outlines alternative accommodation arrangements to address those concerns.
It argues that within the centres victims are denied privacy, can be further abused and contacted and intimidated by pimps and traffickers to withdraw evidence to Gardaí.
The proposals are supported of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, NASC, Focus Ireland and Sonas Housing.
Failings of the existing system highlighted in the submission include:
· Victims have very little privacy to recover from often hugely traumatic experience such as multiple rapes; they have to share bedrooms with at least one and often two other strangers on rotation.
· The centres are mixed gender and can leave already vulnerable young women open to further grooming and exploitation.
· There is evidence that the centres are targeted by men looking to buy sexual services, and these men have propositioned women outside the hostels.
· Accounts given by victims indicate traffickers have actually used the asylum system for residency and accommodation while simultaneously trafficking victims.
· The Direct Provision Centres are well known to the public and the victims could be easily traced and intimidated by their traffickers.
The submission outlines detailed proposals to address these failings including:
· The provision of secure short term emergency accommodation in Dublin, Cork and Limerick with highly trained personnel.
· The use of apartments and houses with outreach support from Gardaí, the Child and Family Agency and other experts for stays of 3-months
· The provision of 3-5 units for longer term care of extremely vulnerable victims
Denise Charlton Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland publishing the submission said:
"For too long detected victims of sex-trafficking have been subjected to sub-standard accommodation and supports - which not only place them in continued danger but are below the European norm.
Ireland's failure to protect victims has been highlighted not only by those of us in the frontline but also by the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the US State Department and others internationally.
The proposals we have outlined were developed using the expertise of four agencies experienced in responding to the needs in victims, and are in line with those in Northern Ireland, Britain, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Romania and elsewhere.
We believe they are urgently needed and can be delivered in the short term to protect one of the most vulnerable group of people in the country.
Many have survived years of daily rapes after being tricked into coming to Ireland with false promises of a dream life, a new job or even marriage, only for a nightmare to start unfolding the moment they step into the car park of Dublin Airport.
Together with our partners we are asking Minister Frances Fitzgerald to prioritise this issue and remove these women from immediate danger.