The Department of Justice has launched a public consultation on a draft 2021/22 Modern Slavery Strategy for Northern Ireland.
The aim of the strategy is to equip Northern Ireland to eradicate modern slavery through a collaborative partnership between law enforcement agencies, front line professionals and the general public to raise awareness of human trafficking and slavery-like offences, support victims, and bring offenders to justice.
The strategic priorities are to PURSUE the criminals who are exploiting the vulnerable, PROTECT and support victims and PREVENT others from falling prey to modern slavery.
Justice Minister, Naomi Long, said: “On 18 October, we are marking Anti-Slavery Day. Modern slavery is a heinous crime that does not discriminate on gender, age or ethnicity. Traffickers are criminals who exploit and deceive individuals into a life of forced abuse and servitude. It is often sadly a hidden crime and we will never know the true scale of modern slavery.
In 2019/2020, 111 potential victims in Northern Ireland were referred to the National Referral Mechanism, which is double the 2018/2019 referrals, and this year’s trend is the same.
The Minister said: “While the Department has already engaged key stakeholders and delivery partners during the pre-consultation engagement stage, this public consultation will ensure that other organisations and wider society have an opportunity to comment on the draft strategy.
“I encourage you to respond to this consultation to improve our response and assist us in striving to eradicate this terrible crime.”
Notes to editors:
1. The consultation will launch on Friday 16 October and will run until 7 January 2021.
3. All responses to the consultation will be considered and any appropriate revisions made before the final strategy is published.
4. It has been developed under section 12 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015.
5. Media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted out of hours on 028 9037 8110.
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