Belfast Telegraph

Photo highlights trafficking horror

A photograph showing how a woman forced into prostitution had tried to claw her way out of the room where she was being held in Northern Ireland has been shown at a meeting of the Policing Board.

The image was presented as a graphic illustration of the cost of human trafficking, as a senior officer said society needed to grasp the horror of the crime.

Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall said police in Northern Ireland had rescued 73 victims of human trafficking over the last two years - though the meeting heard the figure is only the tip of the iceberg.

The officer, from the police service's Organised Crime branch, said human trafficking was modern day slavery and had to be tackled.

"Prostitution must be addressed by all sections of the community," he told the meeting. "We must raise awareness and change the mindset of society.

"It is estimated that globally, between two to four million people are trafficked across borders and within their own countries every year. And it is believed to be the third largest source of income for organised crime."

He said the most common form of trafficking in Northern Ireland is for sexual exploitation.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland worked with other police services to tackle a crime which ignored borders, he said.

Mr Marshall showed the meeting a photograph of a terraced house in Belfast where police had uncovered a brothel.

A picture of a bedroom door showed marks where the woman trapped inside, and forced into prostitution, had tried to claw her way out.

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