Assembly launches trafficking group

Published Tuesday, 15 May 2012
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An All Party Group on Human Trafficking has been established at Stormont in a bid to monitor the growing problem in Northern Ireland.

Assembly launches trafficking group
Anna Lo is chair of the new group. (© Pacemaker)

The group has been created to promote effective action against trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation.

Adults and children are known to be trafficked into Northern Ireland for sexual exploitation.

However, they are also brought into the region to be used in various forms of labour exploitation and for criminal activity - including illegal drug production, fraud and theft.

Since April 2011, the PSNI has identified 27 potential victims of human trafficking in the region.

The victims originated from a number of countries, including China, Slovakia and Ghana

The new Assembly Group aims to tackle the problem through awareness-raising and building co-operation with parliamentary counterparts in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

The taskforce will also monitor and advocate changes in law, policy and practice.

Anna Lo MLA, Chair of the group, said: ''Today is a great step forward in our fight against human trafficking. Assembly members from all parties are committed to making Northern Ireland a hostile place for Traffickers.

"We will proactively address gaps in our systems here to bring about the change that is needed to end this modern day slavery''

Grainne Teggart of Amnesty International is an Adviser to the Assembly Group.

She described human trafficking and exploitation as "egregious violations of human rights."

"The problem has been growing in scale in Northern Ireland in recent years and the new All Party Group shows that it will now get the political attention it deserves.

She continued: "The All Party group will be considering possible changes to the law here and how to better coordinate efforts across government and between statutory and non-statutory agencies."

© UTV News
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