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Human trafficking figures only the tip of the iceberg – Sinn Féin

25 March, 2009 - by Jennifer McCann

Sinn Féin MLA, Jennifer McCann, has welcomed the recent launch of new support services for victims of Human Trafficking but says much more needs to be done to tackle this horrendous crime.

Ms McCann said:

"I welcome today’s announcement of new support services for victims of human trafficking but a lot more needs to be done to tackle this vile crime.

“Organisations, who have been involved in with working with victims of this crime have been trying to raise the issue for years, and on occasions were told that the north of Ireland didn’t have a human trafficking problem. With recent arrests and updated figures it is abundantly clear that we do.

“The launch of these services today alongside the admission that there is a problem with human trafficking must spur those government agencies with responsibility to deal with the issue to act now.

“Sexual exploitation is still the most common form of this enforced slavery and we have a responsibility to protect all victims of human trafficking from this. 

“Given that the PSNI have said that they have rescued 11 people from human trafficking operations and sexual exploitation we need to ascertain quickly and address the levels of exploitation that are taking place. These figures are very likely the tip of the iceberg and many more remain in indentured labour.

““We also need a public campaign to alert people that there is a real problem in the North with human exploitation and encourage them to report anything they think might be suspicious to the PSNI. 

“Everyone in society has a responsibility to stop this despicable practice and we all need to play our part. We all must work closely with those organisations on the ground that are dealing directly with victims and ensure they have the adequate resources to continue the vital work that they are carrying out.”

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