|Huge sex-trafficking networks exposed by Europol ‘Operation Archimedes’||25 Sep 2014|
|Great news from our Legal Team||19 Sep 2014|
|Racist incidents reported to the Immigrant Council of Ireland – 01/01/2014 – 30/06/2014||17 Sep 2014|
|Sex crime laws must be prioritised in new Dáil Term||15 Sep 2014|
|What is Statelessness? Read Andrej's story and sign the petition||10 Sep 2014|
|Child grooming to carry 14-year jail term under proposed laws||08 Sep 2014|
|Child grooming bill a welcome first step to shut down sex-traffickers||08 Sep 2014|
|Evening Echo article||03 Sep 2014|
|Ministers briefed on sex buyer laws||03 Sep 2014|
|Minister remarks on sex buyer laws welcome – but time for action is now||02 Sep 2014|
Need for robust Irish laws highlighted
Politicians must end delay on sex buyer laws
The extent of sex-trafficking networks across Europe has been revealed by the Police Crackdown ‘Operation Archimedes’, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The Council says the operation shows the need for robust laws in Ireland and across the EU to put pimps, traffickers and thugs out of business.
It is calling on politicians to act to ensure that Gardaí can use laws which have put organised crime under severe pressure in other countries.
Denise Charlton of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said:
“While the details of ‘Operation Archimedes’ are still coming out – what is clear is that people are being trafficked to be sexually exploited right across the continent and that those involved are pocketing billions.
200 adult trafficking victims have been rescued as a result of this action as have 30 children, with more than 1,000 arrests also reported – 170 of these are for people trafficking.
Our politicians should sit up and take note of the size of the figures being revealed by Europol and commit to act now to put those criminals targeting Ireland out of business.
As a member of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign the Immigrant Council of Ireland is calling on TDs to end the delay in introducing sex buyer laws, as unanimously recommended by the Oireachtas Justice Committee in June of last year.
Other measures including the introduction of new offences for child grooming, facilitating a brothel and greater protection for witnesses in trafficking cases are also urgently required.
We will continue to engage with all politicians to ensure these measures are swiftly adapted”
We received wonderful news today as a client from South Africa received Permanent Residence.
He had contacted our Information and Referral Service, worried that his EU Treaty Rights would not be recognised due to a change in his family's circumstances. His UK partner had become a full-time carer for their daughter who has Down’s Syndrome and was therefore was not working or self-employed outside the home.
We took on the case, arguing that the UK partner had become permanently resident in Ireland through employment and self-employment in advance of becoming a full time carer. We showed that the couple co-habited for a sufficient period so that he too had acquired permanent residence.
Our client will now receive a Stamp 4 EU Family Residence card for 10 years
In the first six month of 2014 there were 137 racist incidents reported to the Immigrant Council
35% - verbal harassment (65 instances)
24% - discrimination and social exclusion (45 instances)
14% - property damage and racist graffiti (27 instances)
12% - written harassment (22 instances)
9% - physical violence (18 instances)
4% - threats of physical violence (8 instances)
2% - other (4 instances)
19% - at work (26 instances)
18% - in home and local communities (25 instances)
13% - while accessing government or community services (17 instances)
12% - while traveling on public transport (16 instances)
11% - on the street (15 instances)
9% - in an educational institution (13 instances)
9% - on the internet (13 instances)
4% - place of leisure (6 instances)
5% - other (7 instances)
36% - African (50 instances)
20% - Immigrants (28 instances)
12% - Eastern European (17 instances)
7% - Indian and sub continental (9 instances)
6% - Asian (8 instances)
4% - Muslim (6 instance)
4% - White Irish (6 instances)
3% - Irish African (4 instances)
3% - White European (4 instances)
2% - Roma (3 instance)
2% - Jewish (3 instances)
1% - Other (1 instance)
75% - adults (115 instances)
24% - under 18s (37 instances)
1% - unspecified (2 instance)
55% - male (89 instances)
45% - female (73 instances)
80% - Irish (109 instances)
17% - unspecified (24 instances)
3% - other (5 instances)
71% - adults (103 instances)
15% - under 18s (22 instances)
14% - unspecified (21 instances)
50% - male (75 instances)
26% - female (38 instances)
24% - unspecified (36 instances)
Classes of offences
54% - incidents (74 instances)
27% - persistent harassment (38 instances)
19% - aggravated harassment (26 incidents)
Offences committed by:
60% - individuals (82 instances)
26% - group (36 instances)
14% - unspecified (20 instances)
Dublin – 39% (54 instanced)
Unspecified – 20% (28 instances)
Internet – 13% (16 instances)
Kildare – 6% (8 instances)
Limerick – 4% (5 instances)
Galway – 3% (4 instances)
Meath – 3% (4 instances)
Wexford – 2% (3 instances)
Clare – 1.5% (2 instances)
Sligo – 1.5% (2 instances)
Cork – 1.5% (2 instances)
Donegal – 1.5% (2 instances)
Tipperary – 1.5% (2 instances)
Letterkenny – 0.5% (1 instance)
Louth – 0.5% (1 instance)
Roscommon – 0.5% (1 instance)
Waterford – 0.5% (1 instance)
Westmeath – 0.5% (1 instance)
1. Claudia is an Irish citizen but she come to Ireland from the Middle East when she was a toddler. She works in a big Irish company for a number of years. Recently she was informed by a co-worker that some members of the staff are telling inappropriate jokes about her and making referrals to Al-Qaeda and suicide bombers. She was shocked and very upset by the way people are talking about her. She lost her confidence and is refraining from talking to anyone in her job out of fear of being judged for her origin.
2. Mark and his family moved to Ireland from Africa more than 10 year ago and since then they all become Irish citizens. They are suffering from racially motivated harassment from young group of boys (aged 12-14) that are living in their local area. The family have been suffering from recurring property damage. The wind screen of their car has been broken 8 times and his insurance company is now refusing to pay for the repair. His tyres were punctured several times and their house was spray painted with racist slogan. The last time when he confronted the perpetrators they were chasing him down the street wielding wooden sticks, shouting racist abuse and threatening him with physical violence.
3. Noreen is Irish but she is married to a man from Africa. They have two children together. When Noreen was waiting outside the school to collect her children she started a random conversation with one of the fathers who was also waiting for his children. During the conversation the man expressed his discontent about the fact that there are Polish and Nigerian children attending the school as he did not want his children anything to do with ‘them f… immigrants’. Noreen was so shocked that she left without saying a word.
Immigrant Council of Ireland set out its priorities
Brothel operators, sex traffickers and organised crime must be the focus of a new Government bill on Sex Offences which is expected to be published in the new Dáil Term, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The Council says the bill is an opportunity to create new offences for buying sex, facilitating the operation of a brothel as well as providing greater protections for those who testify against the thugs who run prostitution and trafficking.
The Criminal Law Sexual Offences Bill is expected to be published in the coming weeks.
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said:
“It is now more than 2-years since the Government launched its Review on future prostitution regulations in Ireland and the new bill is an opportunity to take real action against those criminal gangs which pocket millions by sexually exploiting women and girls.
There are a number of measures that the Immigrant Council would like to see included in the long awaited legislation including a four point action plan which it has published today:
• The creation of a summary offence for those who buy sex, while at the same time decriminalising those who sell sex
• A new offence of recklessly permitting a premises to be used for the purposes of prostitution
• Witnesses in cases dealing with sexual exploitation through prostitution or trafficking to give evidence anonymously
• The creation of an offence of child grooming with maximum jail sentence of 14-years
The measures we are seeking are in line with those unanimously backed the Oireachtas Justice Committee last year.
Sex-trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes of our time and is more lucrative for criminals than the drugs trade. We need our laws to reflect that.
The new bill is an opportunity for our lawmakers to ensure that the Gardaí and our courts have the supports they need to make life a lot harder for pimps, traffickers and thugs.
The Immigrant Council of Ireland will be in communication with all TD’s and Senators on the resumption of the Dáil and looks forward to contributing to the debate on the future laws.
What is Statelessness? Read Andrej's story and sign the petition
Recently we have been asking our followers to support the European Network on Statelessness Campaign
ANDREJ is just 1 of 600,000 stateless persons living in Europe today who urgently require our protection.
“It is a difficult situation, I can't travel easily, but I am always hoping for good news.”
Andrej was born in Azerbaijan, then part of the USSR, and resided there until 1987. Because he left Azerbaijan before 1992 he has no automatic entitlement to citizenship.
In 1987, Andrej moved to Lithuania and lived there until 2005 when he moved to Ireland. Prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union, he had first been issued with a Lithuanian passport and later - when Lithuania joined the EU in 2004 – became an EU citizen. Andrej arrived in Ireland as a Lithuanian citizen exercising freedom of movement and has been continuously living in Ireland ever since.
However in February 2008, almost three years after his arrival in Ireland, Andrej received notification from the Lithuanian authorities that his citizenship had been unilaterally revoked on grounds that he had allegedly obtained citizenship of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
When he received notification that his Lithuanian citizenship had been revoked, Andrej first believed this to be simply an administrative error since he has never been a citizen of Azerbaijan although he was born there. Unfortunately, his efforts to resolve the matter through the Lithuanian courts were not successful.
In April 2010, Andrej submitted an application for recognition as a stateless person to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service – this application has remained pending for almost four years. However, meanwhile he was eventually granted permission to reside in Ireland on other grounds, and currently holds a five-year residence permit with access to the labour market. However, while waiting for his permit he experienced a range of problems.
Andrej was also issued with an ‘alternative travel document’ by the Irish authorities but this does not allow him to travel freely and he still requires a re-entry visa, costing €60 for a single entry and €100 for multiple entries, in order to be able to return to Ireland from any trip abroad.
In November 2012, Andrej applied for Irish citizenship – asking that the normal requirement of five years ‘reckonable residence’ be waived on the basis of this statelessness. His application remains pending.
Please sign the ENS petition and help protect them against human rights abuses.
Bill launched to create new offence
Cross Party support sought to prevent an ‘Irish Rotherham’
Statement by Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, TD
A bill to create a new offence of child grooming for sexual exploitation which will carry sentences of up to 14-years imprisonment has been launched today (Monday 8th Sept 2014) by Fine Gael TD and member of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy.
The Bill follows on a unanimous recommendation of the Oireachtas Committee to create such an offence in order to combat abuse, exploitation and prostitution of children and has been prepared with the support of frontline charities.
Over the past two-years 30-children have been detected as being trafficked in Ireland for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
The main points of the Corcoran Kennedy Bill include:
· Certain acts, including the soliciting, requesting, counselling, encouraging, procuring or enticing a child (under the age of 17) to do any act, including meeting an adult; or communicating with a child by whatever means with a view of gaining the trust of that child
· for the purpose of doing anything that would constitute sexual exploitation of a child shall be guilty an offence.
· On conviction such offences shall carry penalties not exceeding 14-years imprisonment.
Speaking at the launch of her Bill Deputy Corcoran Kennedy said:
“My short bill seeks to tidy up existing legislation in this area and introduce into Irish law the specific crime of child grooming, whether it takes place in the general community or online.
It will ensure that those who seek to harm our children can find no hiding place in the law and do not have an opportunity to use legal confusion to escape justice.
The creation of the offence not only reflects the unanimous view of the Oireachtas Justice Committee in its recommendation of June last year but also will bring Ireland into line with European Directives.
I am greatly encouraged by the consensus achieved already on this issue and will be seeking cross party support for this initiative and want to acknowledge the role of frontline agencies such as the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, the Immigrant Council of Ireland and Ruhama in supporting the Bill.
The shocking nature of the allegations which are being investigated in Rotherham show us the danger of complacency when it comes to grooming – it is my hope that we quickly move to legislation and prevent the danger of such widespread abuse happening here.”
Other recommendations of Prostitution Review must be implemented
Statement by Immigrant Council of Ireland
The publication of a bill to create an offence of child grooming with penalties of up to 14-years imprisonment is a welcome first step to delivering a major and significant blow to traffickers, pimps and thugs make millions from sexual exploitation, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The Council fully supports the initiative by Oireachtas Justice Committee member, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, TD and is encouraging politicians from all sides to ensure it swiftly becomes law.
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland added:
“We are proud to have worked with Deputy Corcoran Kennedy over the summer months in order to ensure publication of this short bill – which reflects one of the unanimous recommendations made by the Oireachtas Justice Committee in June of last year as part of its review on prostitution law.
This bill offers an opportunity to protect and support underage girls and boys who are trafficked into and around Ireland to meet the demands of sex buyers. In the past 2-years alone 30 such children have been detected.
Following this significant first step the Immigrant Council, and its partners in the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign, will renew our efforts in the coming months to ensure the other recommendations are also acted upon – including the introduction of laws which target the buyers of sex.
In the past week we have had an opportunity to brief the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, TD and we will work closely with her, members of the Justice Committee and our partners to ensure that further laws are prepared and implemented.”
Evening Echo article 8 Politicians must act on Carter call for sex buyer laws – article published in Evening Echo
By Denise Charlton, Chief Executive, Immigrant Council of Ireland
Cork TD’s and Senators must act on the call this week by former US President Jimmy Carter for Ireland to take a lead in introducing sex buyer laws to end exploitation, abuse and trafficking of women and girls.
The decision by President Carter to put pen to paper and write to the Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice and to every TD and Senator shows the international focus there is on Ireland to see if we will become the latest country to make life far more difficult for pimps, traffickers and thugs.
While he notes ‘the unanimous political support for such measures achieved at the Oireachtas Justice Committee’, President Carter goes on to point out that the recommendations for sex buyer laws is now more than 12-months old.
Indeed since they were issued the findings the Committee, under the chair of Cork East Fine Gael TD David Stanton, appear to have been left gather dust somewhere in the Department of Justice.
Of course, the former US leader is not the only one to share the view that sex buyer laws make sense, it is a view shared by 70 Irish organisations of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign.
The Campaign is fortunate to have the support of Cork’s doctors, nurses, academics, business leaders, farming representatives, women’s and children’s rights campaigners and thousands of individuals who also support our efforts.
These members of the campaign, like President Carter, are looking to Cork’s TDs and Senators to act and end the delay which is allowing pimps to go about their business largely unhindered.
Cork has a voice in cabinet with Minister Simon Coveney and is also the home of Fianna Fáil and opposition leader Micheál Martin, TD. They have a responsibility to build on the political agreement achieved at Committee level and move us to the position where laws can finally be introduced.
In October the Immigrant Council of Ireland will act to push this issue further up the political agenda when we will present to all parties a bill we have drafted which will outlaw the purchase of sex.
The details are currently being finalised by our legal advisors, however at this stage we can confirm our bill will introduce fines of up to €500 for those who attempt to buy sex and up to €3,000 and possible imprisonment for those men who do buy on a repeated basis.
These proposed penalties we believe are enough to deter the men whose actions have created a market for trafficked women and girls – while at the same time would not place an undue burden on the income of a family of a sex buyer who has been caught.
Predictably there are vested interests who have taken to social media to try and pour cold water on President Carter’s contribution to this debate – they are attempting to divert attention away from the criminality which lies at the heart of organised prostitution in Cork.
It is a reality that as a frontline organisation the Immigrant Council of Ireland has supported 50 women trafficked into Ireland to face multiple rapes on a daily basis. This is not a small crime – in fact this is recognised internationally as the fastest growing crime and is more profitable than drug running for criminal gangs.
It is worth noting that President Carter is not the only global figure to speak out in recent days. Pope Francis has declared that January 1st next will be a special day when the Catholic Church Worldwide will focus on human trafficking and the selling of men, women and children into forced prostitution.
As our laws stand, Ireland is a high profit-low risk destination for those behind these crimes.
The thugs know that our existing legislation is out dated and is unable to respond to a ‘trade’ which has used the internet and mobile phone technology to move off the streets and indoors.
They know that brothels can be quickly set up in apartment complexes, above pubs and betting shops or in hotel rooms with ease – and that their clients will come safe in the knowledge that the chances of being prosecuted are minimal.
Together with the drug industry the takings from our communities are huge, with the Central Statistics Office estimating that pimps and pushers are pocketing €1.2 billion euro a year.
Now is the time for Cork’s TDs and Senators to deliver on their promises and end this crime. They should note the words of President Carter which he says we have ‘an opportunity for Ireland to take a lead on this important issue and inspire others to follow…..I hope that you will lead your nation towards the protection of prostituted women and girls with a sense of urgency.’
Ministers briefed on sex-buyer laws
Legislative options to be explored
Statement by Immigrant Council of Ireland
The need for sex buyer laws to combat exploitation, abuse and trafficking has been discussed at a meeting between the Immigrant Council of Ireland and the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, TD and Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, TD.
The discussions focused on the growth of prostitution and organised crime and the exploitation which lies at the centre of the trade.
Speaking following the meeting, Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council said:
“We welcome the positive engagement with both Ministers on an issue which has been the subject of much public debate and has received unanimous support at the Oireachtas Justice Committee.
Minister Fitzgerald was particular keen to hear the extent of trafficked women involved in prostitution as well as the success of sex buyer laws in combating this crime in other jurisdictions, including Nordic Countries.
The Immigrant Council also used the opportunity to highlight the evidence of Senior Gardaí that organised crime lies at the centre of prostitution in Ireland and research which shows that up to 1,000 women of 52 nationalities are for sale in this country every day.
The issue of appointing an Anti-Trafficking Czar in order to ensure our laws and measures are effective in responding to this crime, was also discussed.
It has been agreed that the Council will remain in close contact and continue dialogue with both Ministers so as to ensure that the current review of prostitution law is concluded swiftly with a move to legislation.
It is clear there is now political momentum to put pimps out of business, a move which will be welcomed by thousands of people right across Ireland who have campaigned as part of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign.
We would encourage all members of the campaign to keep the pressure on politicians to ensure the Ireland is no longer a safe haven of pimps, traffickers and thugs.”
Links between prostitution and organised crime have been well established
Statement by the Immigrant Council of Ireland
Remarks by the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, TD that she ‘may propose’ laws targeting the buyers of sex will be welcomed by thousands of campaigners across the country, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The Council, as member of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign, is again calling on the Minister to prioritise her consideration of the issues involved and move swiftly to legislation so as pimps, traffickers and thugs can be put out of business.
Members of the Council are due to meet Minister Fitzgerald in the coming days to discuss the issues involved.
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said:
“It is two and a half years since the Government first announced a review of the laws on prostitution and since then every possible issue has been examined and re-examined.
The process has involved 800 submissions and six months of hearings before the Oireachtas Justice Committee which issued unanimous recommendations for sex buyer laws.
The Committee heard from Senior Gardaí who set out in detail the links between organised crime and prostitution, making clear that criminal gangs foreign and domestic are involved.
As a frontline organisation we have supported more than 50 victims of trafficking – each of their stories are depressingly similar, sold as teenagers into a life of being raped and abused up to 12 times a day.
We welcome the reported remarks of the Minster that sex buyer laws ‘may’ be proposed but will also be using our discussions to ask that she makes a swift decision and ensure Ireland is no longer a soft target for pimps.”