A new report featuring testimony of victims of trafficking in Ireland calls for a much swifter process of formal identification of trafficking victims, including those in the asylum process.

The report, published by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, also calls for more compassionate, gender-specific accommodation.

A central finding of the report is that the established policies and practices in Ireland fail to meet the identified needs of trafficking victims who are claiming asylum.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, the report's co-author Dr Edward Keegan said that victims who enter the asylum process cannot be formally identified.

This means that they cannot claim rights for work and education, to help them re-integrate in society.

Victims are often given accommodation in the direct provision system, which Dr Keegan said, is unsuitable.

He added that victims needed to be given legal representation at an earlier stage.

He also called for the adoption of a recommendation by the Council of Europe to introduce a pilot programme for housing, or for direct provision accommodation to be tailored for victims.

CEO of the Immigrant Council of Ireland Brian Killoran said in a statement: "Today's report examined the experiences of trafficking victims who are claiming asylum in Ireland alongside State policies and the outcomes are clear: we are failing to meet their needs.

"A key concern is the lack of recognition of the special needs victims of trafficking seeking protection have compared with other categories of asylum seekers.

"For example they should not languish in direct provision while waiting for formal identification, as it is only at that point they can access the supports to which they are entitled. They also need female-only accommodation where they feel safe."

Nusha Yonkova, Anti-trafficking Manager, Immigrant Council of Ireland, said: "What many people may not realise is Ireland is a destination country for victims of trafficking.

"Between 2012 and 2016, there were 311 victims detected by or reported to the gardaí. The majority were women, with sexual exploitation the main reason. And unfortunately these figures are just the tip of the iceberg."