An opportunity missed to ensure robust laws against human trafficking are enacted in Northern Ireland
On the final day of the Department of Justice consultation on implementing the EU Anti-Trafficking Directive, CARE in Northern Ireland is highlighting all the other changes that need to be made to achieve proper compliance and ensure that Northern Ireland has the most robust laws in place to both assist the prosecution of traffickers and help the victims of trafficking.
There are 25 Articles in the Anti-Trafficking Directive and yet the Department of Justice are only consulting on two changes. The failure to advance proposals for the other changes is cause for real concern, especially as time is running out. The deadline for compliance is 6 April 2013.
Dr Dan Boucher, CARE’s Director of Parliamentary Affairs, said: ‘The Department of Justice seems to have followed England and Wales in opting for a very minimalist application of the Directive, rather than seizing the opportunity for Northern Ireland to lead the way on this issue in the UK and beyond. Indeed, as England and Wales enhanced legal aid provision for victims of trafficking through their Legal Aid Bill having already made the two changes on which the Department of Justice is now consulting, there are questions about whether Northern Ireland’s level of proposed compliance will be even weaker.’
Gordon McDade of CARE in Northern Ireland, continued: ‘Happily, earlier in the year Lord Morrow MLA tabled the long title of a Members Bill at Stormont (The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) (Northern Ireland) Bill) which does rise to the challenge of a fulsome implementation of the Directive.’
‘We very much hope that the Department of Justice will reassess and embrace the opportunity to introduce the wide-ranging legal changes mandated by the Directive and make Northern Ireland a leader on this issue in the UK.’
‘Rather than just squeezing a few trafficking clauses into the next criminal justice bill later in the year, they would be well advised to adopt the Morrow Bill.’
Lord Morrow’s Bill – some of the provisions of which are listed below – will be published shortly and subject to a full public consultation.
Please click here to download a chart that looks at all the outstanding changes that need to be implemented in order to achieve compliance.
For more information, please contact Dr Dan Boucher on 07768 165543.
1. The Department of Justice consultation can be accessed at the link below. It has two parts. The first is concerned with changing the law to make Northern Ireland compliant with the Directive and this closes today. The second, is about the relationship between trafficking NGOs and the DoJ and closes on 28 June 2012 (http://www.dojni.gov.uk/index/public-consultations/current-consultations/consultation-on-legislative-amendments-and-department-of-justice-engagement-in-relation-to-human-trafficking.htm)
2. Provisions that the Bill introduces in line with the Directive but about which the DoJ consultation makes no proposals include: