Justice Minister David Ford has praised the work of a Craigavon community group in raising awareness of the issues of human trafficking.
Presenting Justice Champions awards to Mel Wiggins and Laura Wylie, from Stop The Traffik Craigavon, Minister Ford said: “My Department and its statutory partners are working hard to tackle human trafficking, but we cannot do this alone. Organisations such as Stop the Traffik Craigavon play a vital role in raising awareness, mobilising communities and developing an effective network of eyes and ears that is alert to the indicators of human trafficking.
“Mel and Laura are justly deserving of the accolade of Justice Champions. Through their strong understanding of the issue they have provided invaluable input to the awareness raising activities that my Department is driving forward. Indeed, I would like to see the strong working partnership extended to other Stop the Traffik Groups.”
Mel and Laura were one of three Justice Champions to be recognised in the 2013 Justice in the Community Awards which are organised by the Department of Justice and aimed at individuals and teams, voluntary workers and staff working within community and statutory organisations across Northern Ireland who go the extra mile to promote justice within our community.
For their Justice in the Community Awards prize, Mel and Laura chose a digital camera and invested their remaining prize money in a training event focusing on mobilising other Stop The Traffik community activist groups to raise awareness of human trafficking in their communities.
Notes to editors:
1. Mel Wiggins and Laura Wylie were recognised in the 2013 ‘Justice in the Community’ Awards organised by the Department of Justice. 28 nominations were received and were considered by an independent judging panel consisting of Baroness May Blood, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Brendan McGuigan, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice for Northern Ireland and Gareth Johnston from the Department of Justice.
2. The three ‘Justice Champions’ are:
· Mel Wiggins and Laura Wylie, Stop The Traffik Craigavon.
· Paul Hamilton, St Patrick’s Football Club, Belfast.
· Ewan Morgan and Elizabeth Kimmins, Community Restorative Justice Ireland (CRJI).
They each received a commemorative crystal trophy and an award to the value of £500 for equipment or services to benefit their local community.