Ireland’s Ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

“The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD’s call for the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Protocol details important safeguarding measures for children and young people from offences including child trafficking, child abuse material (referred to in the Protocol as child pornography) and child prostitution”.

Read full release from The Children’s Rights Alliance here

 

Ireland: Poverty and social inequality leaves children at risk of sexual exploitation

A report issued by ECPAT International has outlined the challenges facing Ireland in 2018 which facilitate a growing risk of the sexual exploitation of children.

”Social inequality in Ireland is putting some children at greater risk of sexual exploitation – with Roma, migrant, refugee and Traveller communities more adversely affected. When income inequality remains high, children from vulnerable and marginalised groups are often denied fundamental human rights, such as access to housing, which exposes them to higher vulnerability and to different forms of violence, including sexual exploitation.” reads the report.

With Ireland continuing to fall behind in its national responsiveness to addressing Child Trafficking, ECPAT suggest “Overall, Ireland has a quite good legislative framework for the protection of children from sexual exploitation. However, the government could strengthen the legal structure even further. For example, by putting in place national complaint mechanisms that are sensitive to child victims, and taking measures that make it easier for victims to seek compensation.”

To access the full report, click hereECPAT International Report: Ireland

Kevin Hyland to succeed Professor Siobhán Mullally on European anti-trafficking committee

Kevin Hyland OBE has been elected as Ireland’s representative on the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) from next year.

Mr Hyland will succeed Professor Siobhán Mullally of UCC School of Law at the end of her second two-year term.

He was appointed as the UK’s first independent anti-slavery commissioner in November 2014 and received an OBE in 2015 for “services to combating human trafficking”.

Prior to this, he had a 30-year career as a police officer and was formerly head of the Metropolitan Police’s human trafficking unit.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “The election of Kevin Hyland to GRETA is a significant achievement and a tribute to his broad international expertise and experience in the area of human trafficking at national and international level.

“I am confident that he will make a substantial contribution to the important work of GRETA. I wish to extend my congratulations to Mr Hyland and wish him every success in this vital role.”

Every congratulations to Kevin from all at MECPATHS!

Original Article posted here

An International perspective on Ireland’s response to Human Trafficking

Over the past months, Ireland’s efforts to counter Human Trafficking have been placed under an International Spotlight. The US Department of State’s publication of The TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Report has highlighted the nations under-preparedness for the international crisis of Trafficking. As a result of Ireland’s limited response, the country has been downgraded to ‘Tier 2’ in the Departments Indicator scale.

“The Government of Ireland does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however it is making significant efforts to do so. The government made significant efforts to meet the minimum standards during the reporting period by collaborating in international investigations and increasing funding for victim services. However, these efforts were not serious and sustained compared to the efforts during the previous reporting period. The government has not obtained a trafficking conviction since the law was amended in 2013; it initiated only three prosecutions in 2017, and had chronic deficiencies in victim identification and referral. Therefore Ireland was downgraded to Tier 2”.

To download a copy of The TIP Report, please click here

Furthermore, the publication of a Europol Report ‘Criminal Networks involved in the Trafficking and Exploitation of Underage Victims in The European Union’, highlights the growing nature of Trafficking within Ireland and directly requests the Irish Government to respond to this International Crime. Director of Europol, Catherine De Bolle, confirms that vulnerable children are being identified and victimise by criminals who want to exploit them. Ireland is highlighted as a destination country for victims of Trafficking:

“Vulnerable boys and girls between the age of two and 17 years old are targeted by traffickers for different purposes, to be sexually abused in prostitution, pickpocket or steal from shops.. Only if all competent authorities work closely together can we effectively protect these minors, as exploited children in vulnerable situations deserve to be. Children do not decide for themselves, traffickers very often directly engage their families in the recruitment process or even just target orphans.”

As Ireland’s National response remains under-resourced, we continue to reach out to the hospitality sector in Ireland to engage with MECPATHS and help to raise awareness and grow staff-capacity. Each person can make a difference. To request further information on our work, please email us info@mecpaths.ie

MECPATHS at The World Meeting of Families

We are delighted to announce our presence at The World Meeting of Families in August. With an opportunity to have a presence at The RDS for the duration of the gathering, MECPATHS will reach out to many new supporters and meet with some of our existing partners during the course of the celebration.

We have also been invited to deliver a workshop at the Meeting, on Thursday 23rd August in Hall 7 at 10.30am: Human Trafficking: “An open wound on the body of contemporary society” (Pope Francis). Our Keynote speaker is Kevin Hyland OBE who will be joined by a survivor of Child Trafficking who will share her experience and explore how this time moulded her adult life. We will have an opportunity to share more about our work at MECPATHS and to deliver a Q&A session for attendees.

To find out more, please visit here

Ireland has been downgraded to a tier 2 country

A US State-Department report reveals Ireland has been downgraded to a tier 2 country, meaning it is no longer deemed to be meeting the minimum standards required.

The Trafficking in Persons review outlines ongoing shortcomings in the treatment of victims here and chronic deficiencies in identification.

In response, the Immigrant Council of Ireland says it is grave news to hear that Ireland is failing to meet even the minimum standards required.

It says it has long been concerned that asylum-seekers here cannot be identified as victims of trafficking, meaning many are not able to access the supports they are entitled to. Read the full article here

South Central Province Meeting

We were delighted to be invited by the South Central Province to De la Salle, Pastoral Centre, Castletown Co. Laois to give an afternoon information session on the work of MECPATHS.

The Information session consisted of our MECPATHS presentation, a talk from the Project founder Sr. Mary Ryan on the work of the Project and a brief presentation on volunteering with the MECPATHS project. We also heard accounts from some of our present volunteers on their experience of volunteering with the MECPATHS project.

It was a wonderful opportunity for MECPATHS and we are most grateful to all who gave of their time to support the project, attend the session and learn more about our work to counter child trafficking and protect children.

Spirit Radio interview with MECPATHS

MECPATHS Education Coordinator Ann Mara speaks to Wendy Grace of Spirit Radio about the work of MECPATHS, the distinguishable difference between Human Trafficking and Sex Trafficking in Ireland. Ann further explores the vulnerability of Children and discusses the 750,000 predators who sit online, waiting to exploit and groom the vulnerable.

With 4.5 million children trafficked globally each year, Ann details the role which The Hospitality Sector has in reducing these numbers and explores the ways we, as a nation in Ireland, can work to counter Child Trafficking.

As a project of The Congregation of The Sisters of Mercy, we are very happy to support any hotels in Ireland who would like to avail of our Education and Information Programmes. Please do get in touch, directly, should your hotel wish to reach out for our support info@mecpaths.ie

You can listen to Ann’s Interview here:

 

World Earth Day 2018

As the world takes a moment of pause to mark World Earth Day, 2018, we are drawn to reflect on the consequences of the ongoing degradation of the planet. The Sisters of Mercy continue in their work to draw attention to the world around us, to the important role each person, and living thing plays in making up the world. MECPATHS, as a project of the congregation, so too recognises the role climate change can play within the world of Human Trafficking.

Communities, and individuals, who are reliant on land, the seas, the oceans and rivers for survival have seen a great reduction in their ability to draw from the world around us as climate change takes hold. With a reduced income or ability to provide for their families, many are drawn to other parts of their respective countries and continents for alternative means of providing and surviving. With promises of better lives, of increased income and more positive futures for their children, many adults find themselves in situations which are not, ‘as promised’. They are exploited, they are abused, they are sold and bought, and they are trafficked. They become trapped and alone.

The world around us impacts on each of us in different ways- it can be positive, it can be challenging, it can provide a path of joy and harmony or a winding road of darkness and hardship. This World Earth Day, take a moment of pause, and look around you. Take a moment to be grateful and take a moment to think of those whose lives are affected so darkly by the many who take advantage of a weary world which continues to change, rapidly #raiseyourvoice