Human Trafficking in the Republic of Ireland: Comprehensive Policy Recommendations
Reviewed by Chris Meyer
June 4, 2014
Although it is estimated to be one of the fastest growing activities of transnational criminal organizations, human trafficking is often understood to be the sole province of underdeveloped nations. Indeed, these assumptions are somewhat justified, with the United Nations estimating that the practice is more prevalent in impoverished areas of Asia and West and Central Africa. However, as Hayley Evans argues in her policy paper on the subject, “Human Trafficking in the Republic of Ireland: Comprehensive Policy Recommendations,” human trafficking is also a pertinent issue in the developed countries of Western Europe. In her essay, Evans dissects the web of European Union directives issued in condemnation of human trafficking, and outlines eight policy recommendations for the Republic of Ireland with respect to domestic and international action against human trafficking.
Evans’ discussion of the history behind the European fight against human trafficking, as well as the manner in which the current Irish system functions, is too complex to discuss here. A number of her policy recommendations, however, deserve advance notice. In addition to more standard arguments for increased government oversight through an Irish Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, Evans also proposes that Ireland adopt the Swedish model of partial criminalization of prostitution, noting that an overwhelming majority of trafficked humans are forced into the sex trade. Although the Swedish protocol mandates that the purchase of sexual services be tried as an aggravated offense, it decriminalizes the actions of the seller. Evans also presents a detailed adjustment to current standards of treatment and care for asylum seekers and trafficked people in Ireland, which includes improved shelter conditions and greater security for former victims of human trafficking.
Although her arguments are comprehensive, Evans’ paper is occasionally repetitive and could likely have condensed the policy recommendations down to a more digestible number. Furthermore, it is often unclear why some of her policy recommendations — such as the National Rapporteur — are uniquely suited to Ireland rather than more generic recommendations that can (and should) be adopted by other European Union nations. An interesting extension of her work could discuss the extent to which many of these policy recommendations are generalizable to other European nations. These small issues aside, however, Evans has produced an admirably researched and thorough policy paper that will give even the casual reader insight into a growing modern criminal phenomenon.
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