Belfast Telegraph

Human trafficking must be eradicated – Bell and McCann

Stormont Executive press release - Office of the First and Deputy First Minister

Junior Ministers Jonathan Bell and Jennifer McCann today addressed a Policing and Community Safety Partnership event in Belfast City Hall to raise awareness about human trafficking.

From 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013 there were 16 potential victims of human trafficking recovered in Northern Ireland.

Junior Minister Jonathan Bell said: “The hard truth is that human trafficking is not someone else’s problem. It is not something that solely happens in other countries. It is a real, and deeply concerning, social evil here on our doorstep – a trade that preys on the vulnerable and which relies for its success on coercion and stealth.

“It is the cloak of secrecy which makes the role of the people who work in today’s front line services so important. 

“This conference is supporting and endorsing the crucial work in which you are engaged. Its purpose is to help some of the most vulnerable people in society and, above all, to spread the message that the masters driving today’s slave trade will be pursued without let-up in Northern Ireland.”

Human trafficking is the illegal movement of a person into or through a country. Victims are often brought into a country on the promise of a decent wage but are forced to work extremely long hours, for less than the minimum wage, often in unsafe conditions. Some victims are also housed in very poor and unsuitable accommodation. In some cases they have even paid a significant amount of money to travel to the new country, with the promise of a better life.

Junior Minister Jennifer McCann said: “The transport and exploitation of vulnerable men, women and children by predatory criminals is something we will not tolerate. Human trafficking isn’t a problem that happens far away and too often we hear accounts of people who have been subjected to this most despicable of industries.

“We all have a role to play and this event organised by the Belfast Policing and Community Partnership to raise awareness is very important. Everyone in the community whether working for Councils, hotels, taxi firms or the Post Office, have a vital role to play as they are the eyes and ears of the community. Through collaboration and harnessing our collective capabilities we must tackle the traffickers and break the links to eradicate this evil trade for good.”

Call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, if you suspect that someone may have been trafficked. Your call will be treated in confidence and your information could help to prevent human trafficking.

You can also get more information on nidirect: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/human-trafficking

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