Human trafficking is a serious crime that can affect anyone, of any age, gender or nationality. It involves the possession of people by improper means, such as force, threat or deception to exploit them. It is the illegal movement of a person into or through a country.

Modern Slavery

Modern slavery is happening in Northern Ireland and the Department of Justice (DoJ) is calling on everyone across society to be aware of the possible signs that someone may need help and to report suspicions quickly and confidentially.


During the 2016/17 financial year to date, the PSNI Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU) has conducted 308 screening assessments.

From these 34 potential victims of human trafficking were recovered in Northern Ireland and referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM).  The 34 recovered victims included 12 males and 22 females. 6 of the 34 NRM referrals were children, 4 males and 2 females. The majority of these were rescued from sexual exploitation (15 victims) with the remaining rescued from labour exploitation (9), criminal exploitation (5), domestic servitude (2) and 3 types of exploitation remains unknown.


To help raise awareness about the criminal activity of modern slavery the department has launched an awareness campaign in partnership with local councils, the emergency services, public and private organisations and a wide range of civil sector organisations.

The campaign consists of a poster and leaflet which encourages members of the public to be alert to the signs that someone may be a victim of modern slavery and to report suspicions to PSNI or to the Modern Slavery Helpline. 

To report suspicions confidentially to the police call 999 or 101 or directly to the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700.

Further information can be found at nidirect website

Back to top