Number of human trafficking victims doubles
The numbers of potential victims of human trafficking provided with services by the Legal Aid Board more than doubled in 2015.
The 2015 Legal Aid Board (LAB) Annual Report shows that between 2009 and the end of 2015, the LAB provided legal services to 144 potential victims of human trafficking.
The report confirmed it provided legal services to 38 new potential victims in 2015 - this compares to 16 under the same heading in 2014.
The report stated that of the 38 cases in 2015, 11 were referred in relation to sexual exploitation, 14 in relation to labour exploitation, two in relation to labour and sexual exploitation, six in relation to forced criminality, one in relation to forced begging and four were for unspecified reasons.
At the end of December 2015, 97 potential victims of human trafficking were still registered as clients of the board, the report said.
Of the 97 clients, 80 were female and 17 were male, 95 were adults, one was an unaccompanied minor and one was an accompanied minor.
The Refugee Documentation Centre (RDC) operates under the aegis of the board and provides an objective research and query service to agencies and individuals involved in the international protection process.
A sample of the queries sought in 2015 included honour killings in Pakistan; Juju rituals and practices in Nigeria; forced recruitment by the Taliban in Afghanistan; treatment of LGBT people in Malawi; xenophobic attacks in South Africa; and the security situation in Iraq.
As a result of the sharp rise in those seeking asylum here in 2015, the number of new clients registering at the LAB for international protection services rose by 70pc to 1,537.
The report also stated that it granted 846 legal aid certificates in international protection cases in 2015 to enable representation before the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.