The Department of Justice has published the Northern Ireland Modern Slavery Strategy 2019 – 2020.
This is the third annual strategy and it underlines the Department’s commitment to work in partnership with a wide range of agencies in the fight against modern slavery.
It is widely accepted that there are more slaves in the world today than at any point in history. Sadly, some of the victims who are being abused, exploited and denied their human rights can be found in our local cities, towns, villages and rural areas.
This latest strategy builds on previous commitments, which have helped to set a clear direction for the Department of Justice and its partners.
It presents a challenging programme of objectives and actions under three key themes: Pursue, Protect and Prevent.
Whilst the strategy covers the period April 2019 – March 2020, it also takes a longer-term view, setting out the planned trajectory and direction beyond the year ahead, acknowledging that modern slavery is a complex issue and that there is no quick fix.
Actions under the pursue strand seek to enhance the operational response to disrupt offenders and bring them to justice.
Supporting and protecting victims and potential victims remains central to the strategy.
It also addresses the need to prevent people from getting drawn into slavery in the first place. This can be done by reducing the vulnerability of those who may be targeted by traffickers and enslavers; ensuring that the general public is equipped to spot the signs of exploitation and report any suspicions; and by seeking to tackle demand.
Anthony Harbinson, Director of Safer Communities in the Department of Justice, said: “We all have a role to play to ensure we have a safe community where there is no place for modern slavery and human trafficking abuses to take place. Tackling this despicable crime needs a whole societal approach.
“Partnership is central to combating modern slavery and therefore central to this strategy. Law enforcement and other partner organisations are making a difference but need the support and vigilance of the public in general.
"Working in tandem, we can improve the ways we pursue the criminals who are exploiting vulnerable people. We can develop how we protect and support victims; and target efforts to prevent others from falling prey to the criminals involved in this appalling crime.”
Further information on the Strategy is available on the Department of Justice website publication section
If you suspect someone is a victim, ring: 999 in case of an emergency, 101 to report a general situation or 0800 0121 700 for the Modern Slavery Helpline.
Notes to editors:
1. The consultation on the draft strategy ran from 26 July until 18 October 2018
2. The strategy has been developed under section 12 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015.
3. Further information about human trafficking is available at nidirect website/human-trafficking
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