Human Trafficking is causing concern across Northern Ireland and here in County Down.
The Department of Justice is appealing to everyone to help stop it and has launched a consultation on tackling modern slavery and exploitation.
The Draft Northern Ireland Modern Slavery Strategy 2018-2019 seeks views and comments from individuals and organisations to help inform how the fight against modern slavery continues in Northern Ireland.
The Department recognises that it is widely accepted that there are more slaves in the world today than at any point in human history. Sadly, some of the victims who are being abused, exploited and denied their human rights can be found in our local cities, towns and villages.
South Down MLA Colin McGrath said: “I would encourage anyone with relevant experience or insight to participate in this consultation. We must be ever vigilant to the matter of human trafficking and modern slavery and should never believe that it ‘couldn’t happen in our area.
“I would urge anyone with concerns to approach the PSNI who will take their concerns seriously and investigate. We must move with the times and have a 21st century community that is rid of this 18th century practice.
“I welcome this consultation and urge everyone who can to respond and stop these practices.”
DOJ Director of Safer Communities, Anthony Harbinson, said: “We strive to have a safe community where everyone respects the law and each other. Human trafficking and modern slavery deprives victims of their most basic human rights.
“Working together we aim to strengthen and improve the ways we pursue the criminals who are exploiting the vulnerable, also how we protect and support victims, and how we can prevent others from falling prey to the criminals who are involved in the vile crimes around modern slavery.
“Tackling modern slavery requires a whole societal response… by taking the time to engage with our public consultation everyone can play a part in tackling it. Whether through local government, as a front-line professional, as part of a faith group, as an employer or as a member of society, if you think you can help our work, we would like to hear from you.”
The draft strategy builds on previous efforts and sets out an ambitious programme of work for the future. It has been developed through engagement with a wide range of statutory and civil society partners across Northern Ireland.
The consultation is open until 18 October.
To find out more visit:
or phone 028 9052 3108.