Irish Bishops: we need to become the eyes, ears and voice for trafficked victims

Published on June 29, 2024
  • Statement on Human Trafficking by the Bishops of Ireland

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery and is an assault on our human dignity.

Ireland – north and south – is far from immune from human trafficking, as recent reports have shown.  Women account for 67% of people trafficked into Ireland, and trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most common form of this crime, accounting for 55% of victims, followed by labour at 38% (IHREC Report, Sept 2023).  The most recent Trafficking in Persons Report from the US State Department (published on 24 June 2024) notes Ireland’s ‘overall increasing efforts’ in addressing the seriousness of this question. However, as the report points out, the fact remains that Ireland is still a Tier 2 country in this regard, meaning that it “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so”.

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference welcomes the holding of a Senior Leadership Summit on collectively Combatting Human Trafficking, to be held in University College Cork on 26 – 27 June and that is jointly hosted by An Garda Síochána and the Santa Marta Group.  The Santa Marta Group, under the patronage of Pope Francis, was established in 2014 to ‘act as a catalyst to bring systematic change to end human trafficking, together with law enforcement, civil society and the Church.’  Members of the Bishops’ Conference will be in attendance.