A summary of supports available to victims of trafficking in Ireland are set out below. A more detailed account of all services can be found in the Guide to Procedures for Victims of Human Trafficking.
Services for Adults
Provided by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) to both EEA and non-EEA nationals. Irish nationals are referred to the HSE and children are referred to the Child and Family Agency (Tusla).
Note: For foreign nationals who are not seeking asylum but have no permission to be in Ireland, a member of An Garda Síochána (not below the rank of Superintendent in the Garda National Protective Services Bureau) must have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is a victim of human trafficking before the 60 day Recovery and Reflection Period will be granted. However, a foreign national will be provided with accommodation in RIA pending that decision and during a 60 day Recovery and Reflection Period, if and when it is granted. The Community Welfare Service, within the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, will link in with victims of human trafficking (not in the asylum process) who are moving out of RIA accommodation (i.e. after the 60 day Recovery and Reflection Period) into independent living in circumstances where the person has agreed to co-operate with a police investigation and is granted a 6 months residency permission, which is renewable.
Medical Care / Care Planning
The HSE undertake individualised Care Plans for victims of trafficking in human beings who have been notified to them by An Garda Síochána and with the consent of the victim. A Care Plan covers a range of issues including general health screening; referral to a General Practitioner (Doctor); mental health service; intervention in regard to allowances, school fees, travel vouchers, housing supplement and initiating legal support actions around housing, access to the labour market, vocational training and education, etc. The aim of the Care Plan is to enable the person who is a victim of human trafficking to gain independence thus empowering him/her to make decisions in a safe and supportive environment whilst guiding him/her through all the stages of the trafficking process. Information will be shared on a need to know basis with other organisations in the field and only with the written consent of the client.
Victims are provided with immigration permission under the 'Administrative Immigration Arrangements for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking'. An initial 60-day period of recovery and reflection is granted. After this period a renewable 6-month temporary Stamp 4 can be sought. As permission to remain in the State is binary, the Administrative Immigration Arrangements only apply to persons who do not have pre-existing permission to remain in the State, including those awaiting a decision on their application for International Protection.
Legal aid and advice
The Legal Aid Board provides legal advice to victims of human trafficking on the options open to them. This facilitates each person in making an informed decision on what is best for them. There is no charge to the victim for this service. There is no waiting list, unless a large number of people are discovered around the same time. Issues addressed cover:
- Immigration status in the State;
- Measures set out in the Administrative Immigration Arrangements;
- Information on seeking asylum;
- Redress under Employment Protection legislation;
- Information on what is involved in a criminal trial for a victim/witness;
- Information on compensation – civil and criminal.
A trained Crime Prevention Officer is made available to each suspected victim of human trafficking to advise and assess any security threat to that victim.
Translation and Interpretation services
Available when required at all stages throughout the process.
Employment/ Vocational Training
While victims requiring immigration permission cannot work during the initial 60 days Recovery and Reflection Period, they are entitled to work and enter training programmes once granted a Temporary Residence Permission, as outlined in the aforementioned Administrative Immigration Arrangements.
In order to support the victim through the process of their recovery and integration back into the community, the Health Service Executive Care Plan includes a category on education/training. This category is there to help to ensure that suspected victims are 'job ready' and that any issues which might hinder successful completion of a course are resolved.
Voluntary Return Home
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) can help victims of human trafficking to return home, if they wish to do so. This assistance is available to victims of trafficking regardless of nationality.
Services for Children
Tusla, the Child and Family Agency
Tusla is responsible for the protection and welfare of children within the Republic of Ireland under the Child Care Act 1991 and the Children First Guidelines. Tusla is responsible for the reception into care and provision of care to all separated children/unaccompanied minors. This is a national service. When any child requiring a service comes to the attention of Tusla, an assessment takes place of the needs of that child and that assessment includes an assessment of the needs of children who may be victims of human trafficking. It makes all necessary provisions for any unaccompanied child identified as an alleged victim of trafficking including accommodation, medical care, Care Plan, legal aid and advice, voluntary return home, education and any other need of the child.