Justice Minister David Ford has published a progress report against the Northern Ireland Human Trafficking and Exploitation Action Plan for 2014/15.
The action plan, published in May 2014, was the second of its kind and identified key priorities across a range of areas such as prevention; support and protection for victims and; strengthening law enforcement.
David Ford said: “Human trafficking is an appalling crime where victims are robbed of their basic rights and forced into a life of slavery. There can be no room for complacency, and I am pleased that good progress has been made in the course of the year with a number of important actions delivered.”
Many of the actions taken forward over the past twelve months were legislative in nature and sought to enhance our capacity to tackle the dreadful crimes of human trafficking and slavery. Other non-legislative key achievements include the delivery of targeted awareness and training for key groups and sectors that might come across a victim during the course of their work.
Another outcome of the action plan was the completion of a cross-border analysis of human trafficking during 2013 and 2014. This analysis shows that 176 potential or suspected victims of human trafficking were recorded in Ireland across both jurisdictions during 2013 and 2014 and provides a breakdown by exploitation type, age, gender and country of origin.
The Department of Justice’s statutory and civil society partners, including the Immigration and Human Trafficking subgroup of the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF); the Human Trafficking Engagement Group; and partners in local government all played an integral role in delivering against the action plan.
The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015, which received Royal Assent on 13 January 2015, placed a requirement on the Department of Justice to produce an annual strategy on human trafficking and slavery-like offences.
David Ford said: “For the past two years I have published human trafficking action plans which ensured that the vital groundwork had been completed and that a clear strategic direction had been set for the years ahead. Later this year, I will publish the first annual Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy for Northern Ireland which will further progress the work taken forward through these action plans.”
Notes to editors:
- The cross-border analysis on human trafficking during 2013 and 2014 is attached as an appendix to the progress report.
- DOJ launched a consultation on a draft 2015/16 Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy on 29 May 2015. The final strategy will be published at the end of September/early October 2015.
- For all media queries, please contact the DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.
- View the progress report against the 2014/15 human trafficking action plan and the December 2014 interim update at the publication section of this website
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