Human Trafficking

The Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Amendment Act 2008 says it is against the law to bring a person into or out of the State to exploit them:

  • sexually;
  • for labour; or
  • forced begging
  • forced criminality
  • to remove their organs.

It is also against the law to ask someone to engage in prostitution if you have reasonable grounds for believing they have been trafficked into the State.

3rd Human Trafficking Action Plan

The Department of Justice launched the new National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking 2023 – 2027. The Plan aims to work towards ending human trafficking in the State as a key element of building stronger, safer communities. A number of Government Departments, An Garda Síochána, TUSLA and the HSE have significant roles to play in the implementation of the Action Plan to combat this criminal activity and support victims.

Under the revised National Referral Mechanism (NRM) Framework, the HSE – as well as other agencies –  will become a competent authority for the identification of victims of human trafficking. This means a victim can come forward to a range of agencies not just An Garda Siochána.

In the context of the new Action Plan, the HSE will be responsible for the development of a training framework for all who come into contact with potential victims of trafficking; awareness raising and information dissemination; and actions which seek to improve supports for victims.

Anti-Human Trafficking Team

The Anti human trafficking team of the HSE was set up in early 2010 and provides care planning and support to identified victims of human trafficking for all forms of exploitation

The team is co-located with Women’s Health Service in Dublin 8. This is a sexual health and outreach support service for:

  • cis and transgender women in the sex industry; and
  • victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

IOM Ireland Counter-Trafficking Awareness Campaign

On October 18th, 2022, marking the EU Anti-Trafficking Day, IOM Ireland released a short film portraying the harrowing experiences of victims who are trafficked to Ireland.
Entitled ‘Anyone: Deceived’, the film forms part of IOM’s ongoing ‘Anyone’ campaign, funded by the Department of Justice.

The campaign, delivered under the Protect III project, is designed to raise awareness of a number of facts around the scourge of human trafficking:

  • Human trafficking happens in Ireland, not only in faraway countries.
  • It can happen anywhere from small towns to big cities.
  • Just as ‘anyone’ can be a victim of trafficking, equally ‘anyone’ can be a trafficker.
  • There are various reasons for human trafficking - from sexual and labour exploitation to child trafficking and forced begging. 

More information is available at