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Marine Notices 2009


Marine Notice No. 44 of 2009 - Don't Close your Eyes to Human Trafficking
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13 November 2009

The Blue Blindfold Campaign

An awareness-raising campaign was launched in October 2008 to raise awareness to the problem of human trafficking.   This ongoing campaign has a threefold purpose:

  • To raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking;
  • To appeal to the public and relevant sector personnel to report any suspicions anonymously to the Gardaí either through Crimestoppers at 1800 25 00 25 or via a dedicated email;  
  • To discourage the demand for the services of victims of sexual and labour exploitation.

The key theme of the campaign is Dont Close your Eyes to Human Trafficking and the symbol of the blue blindfold represents the risk of people having their eyes closed and being unaware of the crime that may be going on around them.  Further information on the indicators of human trafficking and the campaign is available by visiting

You Can Help:
You can help prevent human trafficking from becoming a problem in Ireland.  Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and may be happening anywhere in cities, towns and villages.  We ask you to be vigilant and to report any suspicions or information to the Garda Síochána by ringing 1800 25 00 25 or email  Additionally, you can assist in raising awareness by displaying and distributing the attached Blue Blindfold poster.

In simple terms trafficking in human beings involves:
(a) the threat of or use of fear, fraud, force, deception, threats, coercion, abduction for the purposes of abuse or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits
(b) the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons for the purpose of exploiting a person for labour, sexual exploitation or removal of organs.

Trafficking is a worldwide phenomenon.  Victims can be trafficked into a range of hazardous labour, including farm work, sweatshops, domestic servitude, forced prostitution and subjected to sexual abuse and other forms of violence.  The Irish Government has undertaken a number of legislative, administrative and operational initiatives to deal with human trafficking.

In an effort to stamp out this crime the Government enacted the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act, 2008.  It contains measures to criminalise trafficking in adults or children for the purposes of labour, sexual exploitation or the removal of organs.  It is an offence to sell or offer for sale or to purchase or offer to purchase any person for any purpose.  Penalties of up to life imprisonment apply in respect of these offences.  It is also an offence to solicit for prostitution a person who s/he knows or has reasonable grounds for believing is a trafficked person.  The penalty can be up to 5 years imprisonment.

A dedicated Unit to ensure that the States response to trafficking in human beings is co-ordinated, comprehensive and holistic has been set up in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.  A key element of Government strategy is the development of the National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Trafficking in Human Beings in Ireland 2009-2012 which was launched by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on 10 June, 2009. The Plan contains a range of measures designed to crackdown on individuals and gangs involved in trafficking in people, awareness campaigns and the collection of up to date data on the nature and extent of trafficking.  Copies of the Executive Summary and the full National Action Plan are available on the Departments website

Director General
Maritime Safety Directorate
Department of Transport
Leeson Lane
Dublin 2