As we come together to mark The United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2020, we find ourselves at a very unusual point in time with the ongoing Covid pandemic. As we restructure our lives to meet our circumstances and adapt to new ways of working, we ask you to consider those whose lives changed forever, in a similar overnight and unwelcomed manner: the victims of Human Trafficking.
Victims of Human Trafficking account for over 40 million citizens of the world and are bought, sold, recycled and used to generate €128 Billion per year. It is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and one of the most difficult to eradicate. Wherever in the world we call home, so too does Human Trafficking, call it its home. There is no country in the world where Trafficking has not been identified and no community untouched by the illicitness of it.
MECPATHS has been working to counter Child Trafficking since 2013 and continues to advocate for child protection against Trafficking. The project works in collaboration with a number of Irish state agencies and other non-profit organisations whose visions align with that of MECPATHS. As the only project working in Ireland specifically on countering Child Trafficking, the work remains pivotal in the country’s efforts to challenge this area of crime.
In recent weeks, The US State Department published its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIPs) Report. It outlines each countries national response to Human Trafficking and Ireland was once again demonstrated to be under-responding to the challenges it faces. We have been demoted in the report from an already concerning ‘Tier 2’ to a ‘Tier 2 Watch List’ which places us alongside countries including Vietnam, Nigeria, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as having the same levels of responsiveness to Human Trafficking. When we think of many of these countries, the historical human rights abuses that we know too well of come to mind. Ireland’s response is now considered on-par with countries aligned with the disregard of human rights for so many.
As we welcome a new government, we encourage you to engage with your local political representatives and with our Minister for Justice & Equality, Helen McEntee, to shine a spotlight on Human Trafficking and particularly Child Trafficking because while many choose to close their eyes, we simply cannot do that. One person cannot do everything but every person can do something.
MECPATHS continues on its strategic path to engage with the hospitality sector and we have extended our reach to encompass the services sectors. This extension is a direct response to requests from private industry for support in their work to counter child trafficking. We look forward to journeying this wider path and are proud to share our newly revised logo and acronym with you. Thank you for your ongoing generosity of support to the team.
If you have not already heard our recent documentary with Curious Broadcast / Newstalk, please take some time today to listen to it.
You may like to watch a Webinar we hosted with Cork Against Human Trafficking, ECPAT USA, The Medaille Trust, Kevin Hyland and recently appointed UN Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, Siobhan Mullally. This can be viewed here
A recent interview with Child Rights Campaigners the Kavanagh Sisters can also be heard here