A culture of panic enflames trafficking issue
the Justice Minister David Ford has rightfully acknowledged the steps taken by his Department and the PSNI to deal with issues around human trafficking in Northern Ireland.
However, contrary to the claims made by some advocacy groups, it would seem the measures put in place by the Department of Justice and the PSNI are proving effective.
The recent international Global Slavery Index (www.globalslaveryindex.org) ranked 162 countries according to the prevalence of trafficking and other forms of exploitation on a scale of one (highest) to 160 (lowest).
The United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Iceland all tied for equal place in having the lowest levels of trafficking and other forms of exploitation, achieving a score of 160 each.
Of course, this is not to deny that issues of trafficking continue to exist in these jurisdictions, but simply to acknowledge that the reality of the situation may not necessarily warrant the hysteria attached to these debates.
Indeed, I would argue that the dubious removal of two Roma children from their parents in the Republic of Ireland was a direct consequence of the 'culture of panic' engendered by a number of anti-trafficking organisations.
Interestingly, contrary to the claims made by some exponents of Sweden's notorious sex-purchase laws – which, it is alleged, will eliminate trafficking for sexual exploitation – Sweden itself fared less well in the index.
DR GRAHAM ELLISON
School of Law, Queen's University, Belfast