|Time to end the queues at Burgh Quay!||08 Jan 2015|
|Human Trafficking, Patricia's story||02 Jan 2015|
|Political leadership needed to end human trafficking in 2015||01 Jan 2015|
Time to end the queues at Burgh Quay!
The Immigrant Council of Ireland is welcoming a commitment to introduce an online appointments system at the Burgh Quay Immigration Office by the end of March. Please see the latest update from the Immigration Service website (below).
We will be raising the issue at our next meeting with Immigration Authorities and will post updates across our social media and www.immigrantcouncil.ie
FROM THE WEBSITE OF THE IRISH NATURALISATION AND IMMIGRATION SERVICE (INIS) WEBSITE…
7th January, 2015 It must be stressed that there is absolutely no need for anyone to queue outside the offices of the immigration services for re-entry visas.
In addition, the Immigration Service wish to again remind applicants to use the postal application service rather than having to attend in person. Even if applicants do decide to come to the office, where applications are being made on behalf of a family, it is not necessary for the entire family to turn up - one member of the family may present the necessary paperwork and receive the visas.
A major reform of the delivery of immigration services is underway including the transfer of registration functions from the Garda National Immigration Bureau to INIS. This presents opportunities to streamline both registration and visa re-entry services and INIS will be introducing an on-line services as part of this process. The introduction of on-line booking appointments will be prioritised with the aim of its introduction in the first quarter of 2015.
Human Trafficking, Patricia's story
Patricia was brought to Dublin via London and Belfast. Her passport was taken from her and she was forced into prostitution to pay debt bondage which her trafficker insisted had arisen for travel, rent, food and clothing.
She was kept in a brothel with two other victims of trafficking with no access to medical care and no outside social contact other than with the men who bought her body. Despite repeated requests.
Eventually, Patricia managed to escape, however fearing deportation she did not seek help from the authorities. She ended up in another exploitative situation of prostitution until arrested by Gardaí for failing to produce an ID. After revealing her experience Patricia was referred to the Immigration Council of Ireland.
Solicitors at the Immigrant Council of Ireland Independent Law Centre secured a Recovery and Reflection period of 60 days for Patricia from the Department of Justice. During this time, she was able to highlight to the Gardaí that she was a victim of trafficking.
Patricia cooperated fully with Garda investigations and was granted temporary residence status which was subsequently renewed.
The Immigrant Council liaised with Patricia’s criminal law solicitors to successful argue in court that victims of trafficking should not be punished for crimes they were forced to commit, such as not having ID when it had been stolen from them.
Patricia now has permission to reside in Ireland and is slowly beginning to recover from the trauma of her ordeal. Her case highlights the positive impact of early legal intervention for victims of trafficking.
Calls by church-leaders welcome
19 victims of sex trafficking supported by Immigrant Council of Ireland in 2014
The calls for political leadership on the issue of human trafficking by Pope Francis and other church-leaders must be heeded by Irish public representatives, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The Council, which supported 19 victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation during the past year, says by acting now the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, can ensure that the business model for pimps and traffickers is wrecked.
The Immigrant Council says the trafficking is a reality which can no longer be ignored.
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland added:
“The message from Pope Francis and other church leaders on human trafficking is a timely reminder for our politicians as they prepare to debate legislation which has the potential to put the organised crime which runs prostitution out of business.
In the coming weeks the Immigrant Council and the 72 partners of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign will be in contact with political parties and independent TDs and Senators to ensure the promised Sexual Offences Bill will be effective in responding to one of the biggest crimes of our time.
We are seeking action on a number of fronts:
- The introduction of sex buyer laws as proposed in the new Sexual Offences Bill
- The publication of the promised second National Action Plan on Human Trafficking
- Improved procedures to identify and support victims
- The appointment of an Independent Anti-Trafficking Czar to evaluate our responses to the crimes
Since starting work in this area in 2006 the Immigrant Council of Ireland has represented and supported 60 women – the past year has been our busiest to date.
As an Independent Law Centre we work with women to help restart their lives. We provide legal representation and support as they seek to be formally identified as victims, access services such as training and the workforce as well as citizenship applications.
In most cases returning to their country of birth is not an option as it will only lead to further abuse.
While every story is individual – there are also many similarities. Teenagers tricked into coming to Ireland with promises of a new life, job or marriage only for reality to dawn in the car park of Dublin Airport. It is there the dream becomes a nightmare.
What follows are daily rapes in brothels and being rapidly moved around the country to meet the demand from sex buyers for fresh meat. This is the reality of prostitution in Ireland.”