Click here to go to the Department of Justice website
Print this page

Governments Response to Human Trafficking


What is the Government doing to prevent trafficking in human beings?
For information on what the Irish Government's response to human trafficking see our page on Irelands Response

Is there current legislation to prevent and prosecute trafficking in human beings?
The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 was enacted on 7 June 2008. This legislation creates an offence of recruiting, transporting, transferring to another person, harbouring or causing the entry into, travel within or departure from the State of a person for the specific purpose of the trafficked person’s sexual or labour exploitation or removal of his or her organs. It provides for penalties up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine for persons who traffick or attempt to traffick other persons for the purposes of labour or sexual exploitation or for the removal of a person’s organs.

It also makes it an offence to sell or offer for sale or to purchase or offer to purchase any person for any purpose. Penalties of up to life imprisonment also apply in respect of these offences.

It is also an offence for a person to solicit for prostitution a person who s/he knows or has reasonable grounds for believing is a trafficked person. The penalty can be up to five years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine on conviction on indictment.

What is the role of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit?
The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit was established in the Department of Justice and Equality in February, 2008. The Unit is working to ensure that the State response to trafficking in human beings is coordinated, comprehensive and holistic.
    What legislation deals with prostitution in Ireland?
    Ireland has a wide range of laws criminalising the activities surrounding prostitution such as soliciting, brothel keeping, advertising prostitution, etc. Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act, 2008 provides for the punishment of a person who knowingly solicits or importunes a trafficking victim for the purposes of sexual exploitation. A fine of up to €5000 or 12 months imprisonment or both on summary conviction and unlimited fine or 5 years imprisonment or both on conviction on indictment - the purpose of which is to target clients.

    Furthermore, under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act, 1993 it is an offence for a person to solicit another person in a street or public place for the purpose of prostitution. The Garda Síochána operational measures address prostitution.

    The Meaning of Human Trafficking


    Who is Involved


    Nature and Extent of Problem


    Supports Available


    Seeking More Information





    ^ Back to top