Belfast Telegraph

Spotlight on sex trade

By Claire McCallion

The use of the word freedom gives a clue about the nature of this event and yet its importance cannot be underestimated. The A21 Campaign exists to abolish injustice in the 21st Century, focussing primarily on the horrors of the growing organised crime, human trafficking.

Helen Cupples, from The A21 Campaign in Ireland and an organiser of the Frocks for Freedom event, said: "We have been deeply compelled to act and raise awareness about the sad prevalence of trafficking in this country. Most people don't know about this problem in Northern Ireland; they think it is too small a country for this to be happening in, but is occurring on a fast growing scale."

With a recent announcement by the Department of Justice to roll out an information programme about human trafficking into the Northern Ireland school curriculum, The A21 Campaign is clearly not alone.

Paul Givan MLA, Chair of NI Justice Committee said: "The trafficking of human beings is an abhorrent crime that destroys the lives of victims and their families through this exploitation. Tackling this crime requires the coordinated and dedicated efforts across all government departments and criminal justice agencies."

Helen Cupples also believes that a strategy of public education, improved legislative and judicial measures, together with consolidation of a community based system of support and vigilance to assist with the rescue and restoration of victims and prosecution of offenders, is crucial.

With the support of Northern Irish fashion designers from Unify Fashion collective, GAA and Rugby players, dancers from Vibe Academy, musicians including Rosie Carney, Frocks for Freedom promises to be a very special evening.

Dave Henderson from UNify said: "It is a privilege to be able to showcase our collections in support of and in the name of those victims who are trapped in lives of cruelty and fear, just a stone's throw from many of our doors. We are both thrilled and honoured to participate in this event."

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