What's wrong with this picture?

From today's Times:

A 17-YEAR-old girl, whom gardaí believe was trafficked into Ireland to work in the sex industry, has been remanded on continuing bail.
...
The girl, who is from Nigeria and cannot be named for legal reasons, is charged with failing to produce a passport or another form of identification.

Now maybe this is a product of my wild imagination, but I can think of a pretty good reason why a person who had been trafficked into the country might not have a passport or another form of identification. A few pretty good reasons, in fact.

The Government has repeatedly justified its refusal to legislate for the rights of trafficking victims on the basis that the Garda Síochána treat all such persons "sympathetically", "with respect and dignity" and so on. Yes, that's exactly how I would describe bringing criminal charges against someone for not making sure they had their identity papers with them when they were trafficked.

The threat of prosecution, deportation and other such punitive measures is a very effective way to discourage trafficking victims coming forward. This is a no-brainer. It's so obvious that even Michael McDowell as Minister always insisted (not in so many words, admittedly) that it didn't happen. And yet that's precisely what's happening right now in Carlow-Kilkenny.

It's a disgrace and a scandal and I cannot understand why the migrant and women's rights sectors are not all over it.

5 comments:

WorldbyStorm said...

You'd not posted in such a long time I - and I'd guess a fair few others - thought it was permanent. Anyhow, good to see its not. Dead right re the issue, the lack of response is crazy. Middle of the Summer? Activist organisations exhausted after the last year or so? There really is no excuse.

harpymarx said...

It is shocking that this woman is being treated like is a criminal and being punished.

It never ceases to amaze me how barbaric this society is.

It also reminds me of how women asylum seekers are treated when they give an account of sexual/physical violence. Their experiences are trivalised and minimised and locked up in some hell hole like Campsfield.

Dan Sullivan said...

"The Government has repeatedly justified its refusal to legislate for the rights of trafficking victims on the basis that the Garda Síochána treat all such persons "sympathetically", "with respect and dignity" and so on. Yes, that's exactly how I would describe bringing criminal charges against someone for not making sure they had their identity papers with them when they were trafficked."

Strictly speaking I'm not sure the Garda are bringing charges, it's the DPP surely that does that.

Wednesday said...

Not necessarily, the case is being heard in the District Court so it could have been brought by a Garda. Not that that's really the point...

Stephie said...

Firstly - yay, Wednesday is back!

Secondly - you said all that stuff way better than I did..

Disgrace and a scandal indeed.

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