Anti human trafficking initiative


Human trafficking involves the transporting of men, women and children for the purpose of sexual or labour exploitation, or for removal of their organs. Victims are trafficked into a range of hazardous types of work, including farm work, sweatshops, domestic servitude, forced prostitution and are subjected to sexual abuse and other forms of violence.

Trafficking also involves the use of fear, force, deception, threats or abduction. When children are trafficked, however, no violence, deception or threat needs to be involved. Simply transporting them into exploitative conditions constitutes trafficking.

Human Trafficking Offences

The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 makes it an offence to traffic in adults or children for the purpose of their sexual or labour exploitation or the removal of their organs. In addition, it makes it an offence to sell or purchase (or offer to sell or purchase) any person for any purpose. If you are found guilty of any of these offences, penalties of up to life imprisonment can be imposed.

It is also an offence to solicit or importune a trafficked person for the purpose of prostitution. It is punishable on indictment by up to 5 years in prison.

Human Trafficking Initiative

Ireland is a member of a European G6 initiative against trafficking in humans by criminals. (The European G6 is an unofficial group made up of the six EU member states with the largest populations.) The other five countries involved in the initiative are the United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands and it is supported by Europol, Interpol and Eurojust. The initiative involves:

  • Intelligence gathering
  • Awareness raising
  • Law enforcement activity
  • Victim protection

Blue blindfold awareness campaign

As part of the initiative’s human trafficking awareness raising campaign the concept of a blue blindfold is being used to encourage people not to close their eyes to human trafficking. You are asked to look around and be aware of situations which may indicate a trafficking crime and to report any suspicions to the Garda Síochána.

Information on indicators of human trafficking, which can help you identify victims, is available at

Reporting suspicions of trafficking

If you wish to report your suspicions of human trafficking confidentially, you can:

Victims who are trafficked into Ireland are allowed to remain in the country for 45 days for a period of recovery and reflection. Other victim supports can be provided, if necessary. Victims are required to co-operate with the Gardaí.

Where the victim wishes to help the Gardaí in any investigation or prosecution in relation to the alleged trafficking, a further six months period of residence is provided to allow him/her to do so. This period can be extended if required.

The Legal Aid Board provides legal services on certain matters to persons identified as potential victims of human trafficking.


Anti Human Trafficking Unit

Department of Justice and Equality
51 St Stephen's Green
Dublin 2


Page edited: 7 July 2014