The Government today approved plans for a revised National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to make it easier for victims of human trafficking to come forward and be supported. Minister of State for Civil and Criminal Justice, Hildegarde Naughton TD has also received approval to draft a general scheme of a Bill to put the new NRM on a statutory footing.
The NRM provides a way for all agencies, both State and civil society, to co-operate, share information about potential victims, identify those victims and facilitate their access to advice, accommodation and support. It is the framework through which States fulfil obligations to protect and promote the human rights of trafficking victims. Minister Naughton’s proposals will make it easier for victims to come forward and be officially recognised as victims of human trafficking in order to receive appropriate supports.
Welcoming the approval of this proposal, Minister Naughton said,“These reforms will make it easier for victims of human trafficking to come forward and seek protection. It will also make it easier for the State to provide that support and protection in a collaborative way across the range of Departments and agencies, and working with key NGOs
In addition to An Garda Síochána, it is being proposed that the following agencies will become competent authorities for the identification of victims of human trafficking:
- Department of Justice Immigration Services
- Department of Social Protection
- The HSE
- Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
- International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS)
These agencies each already have interaction with potential victims of human trafficking. The agencies will together form a National Referral Mechanism Operational Committee, which will make decisions on entry of victims into the NRM. In addition, some NGOs will be designated as ‘trusted partners’ and will also be able to refer victims to the NRM, which creates an alternative and trusted pathway to enter the NRM, aside from through interaction with State agencies