National Rapporteur calls for funding to match ambition of new National Action Plan on Human Trafficking


Commission welcomes fresh National Action Plan on Human Trafficking but flags priority areas

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has welcomed the Third National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking 2023-2027 (‘NAP), published today by the Department of Justice.

In our role as National Rapporteur on the Trafficking of Human Beings, we welcome the concrete timings, responsibilities and evaluation processes committed to in the Plan. It is welcome to see greater alignment between the NAP and the third National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the area of demand reduction and safe accommodation for victims. We welcome the fact that the NAP aligns with other national documents on anti-racism, national minorities, migration and the strategy on women and girls.

From our perspective as National Rapporteur, it is especially welcome to see the NAP

  • engage with survivors of human trafficking;
  • develop a training framework for those in contact with trafficking victims;
  • engage with the findings of the Compensation review of the Law Reform Commission;
  • and the explicit mention of the commitment to provide for the expungement of conviction for prostitution.


However, crucial gaps must still be addressed to better protect and support victims. It is estimated that anywhere between 25 to 50 million people are trafficked worldwide at any given time. Strategies to combat them must be adequately funded, planned and tracked.

We call for the NAP to be properly budgeted for, and for a clear allocation of resources for the commitments contained within it.

We are concerned at the lack of reference to age assessments for unaccompanied and separated minors. We are also concerned at the fact that there are no references to vulnerability assessments in the international protection process as a viable tool for early identification. This is a major intersection point between human trafficking and international protection, and we need these vulnerability assessments build in as a key tool for early identification.

We are concerned that the Plan does not mention the current amendment process of the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive – of which the upcoming provisions will be relevant for implementation in Ireland. This is a serious omission which must be addressed.

Some of these provisions include;

  • adding forced marriage and illegal adoption to the list of forms of exploitation;
  • introducing a new article to consider criminal offences that are committed or facilitated by means of information of communication technologies;
  • strengthening sanctions on legal persons by introducing two mandatory regimes (standard and aggravated offences);
  • and introducing an obligation on collection and reporting of data to the European Commission on an annual basis.


Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said:

“Human trafficking is a pervasive and highly damaging activity. This National Action Plan will be an important tool in ensuring that Ireland works to prevent and eradicate this crime, and to protect and support victims and survivors. The State must ensure that the NAP is properly resourced if we are to see successful implementation. It is obliged to use every resource at its disposal, including adequate funding and data collection, to eradicate this horrific crime.”



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Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

National Rapporteur on the Trafficking of Human Beings

In October 2020, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission became Ireland’s Independent National Rapporteur on the Trafficking of Human Beings. Under Article 19 of the European Union (EU) Anti-Trafficking Directive, all EU Member States are legally required to have National Rapporteurs or equivalent mechanisms. The Directive requires the National Rapporteur to assess trends in trafficking in human beings, measure results of anti-trafficking actions, gather statistics (including in co-operation with relevant civil society organisations), and to report.