Why vile human trafficking has to be halted
Deborah McAleese and the Belfast Telegraph have been doing sterling work to highlight the prevalence of human trafficking in Northern Ireland, linking the rise in human trafficking to the local demand for prostitutes.
In recent years, we have seen a sharp rise in the number of women, men and children being trafficked into Northern Ireland - not only for prostitution, but also for domestic servitude and labour exploitation. Since 2008, around 35 people have been rescued.
Human trafficking is criminality in its basest form, with victims being raped, threatened, tortured and used as assets by criminal gangs.
In December 2010, the European Parliament adopted the EU anti-trafficking directive to help provide cross-border solutions to a life-destroying, cross-border problem.
My colleagues and I in the European Parliament sought to ensure a focus on the prevention of trafficking through member-state co-operation.
But, sadly the reality is that there are trafficked people in Northern Ireland who need our help. I urge the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.
JIM NICHOLSON MEP
Conservatives and Unionists