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What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is a crime and a human rights violation. For a situation to be one of trafficking three distinct elements (act, means, purpose) must be fulfilled:
  • The ACT of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons must be done by
  • A MEANS such as the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments and it must be for the purpose of
  • EXPLOITATION i.e. sexual exploitation, labour exploitation or organ removal.

A child cannot consent to being trafficked.

There is no requirement that a person must have crossed a border for trafficking to have taken place – it can and does take place within national borders.

The internationally agreed
legal definition of human trafficking is set out in

Where does it happen?

    Trafficking is happening worldwide and it exists in Ireland also. People can be trafficked into different types of work including
      • restaurant and hotel work
      • domestic work
      • construction
      • agriculture
      • entertainment
      • prostitution
      • other forms of commercial sexual exploitation.

    Why does it happen?

    Trafficking in human beings is a high profit–low risk crime based upon the principles of supply and demand. Criminal networks or individuals take advantage of a series of what are known as ‘Push and Pull’ factors, which explain why vulnerable individuals who lack opportunities and seek better living conditions in their own or a foreign country, end up being part of a human trafficking chain. This, in combination with the demand for cheap labour and sexual services, fuels human trafficking.

    Push Factors:
      • Poverty
      • Lack of opportunities or alternatives such as little or no education, unemployment or low wage employment
      • Gender based discrimination including domestic violence
      • All forms of discrimination and marginalisation
      • Life with dysfunctional families
      • Economic imbalance between impoverished and wealthy countries/areas
      • Impact of political instability and corruption, conflict or transition of countries, especially war.
    Pull Factors:
      • Expectation of employment and (higher) financial reward
      • Improved social position and treatment
      • Access to material benefits associated with “the West”
      • Demand for cheap labour, provision of sexual services, organs and tissues.

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    Department of Justice and Equality The Department of Justice - Northern Ireland EU - PROGRESS programme
    Supporting women affected by prostitution and trafficking State agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children - Ireland's Health Services