Justice Minister, Claire Sugden has today launched a consultation on a draft Northern Ireland Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy for 2016/17.
Claire Sugden said: “Human trafficking is an appalling crime where victims are robbed of their basic rights and forced into a life of slavery. Tackling these offences and the people who perpetrate them is a priority for me and for my Department.”
The draft strategy has been developed by the Department of Justice after extensive engagement with both civil society partners on the DoJ’s Human Trafficking Engagement Group and statutory partners on the Organised Crime Task Force’s Immigration and Human Trafficking Subgroup. It builds on the work that has already been delivered under previous human trafficking action plans for Northern Ireland.
The draft strategy identifies a wide range of challenging and targeted actions that the Department and its partners are committed to delivering over the next twelve months. The actions fall under four strategic priorities: Pursue; Protect and support; Prevent and Partnership.
Claire Sugden continued: “I believe that this draft strategy and the objectives and actions underpinning it reinforce Northern Ireland’s defences against these horrific crimes. The Strategy will facilitate effective investigations and prosecutions and will help to ensure that victims are identified, protected and supported.”
The Department is particularly keen to consult with organisations or agencies whose functions or activities seek to tackle human trafficking or slavery-like offences or to support the victims of these offences. The consultation closes on Friday 9 September.
Notes to editors:
The consultation will run from 1 July 2016 until 9 September 2016.
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.
Responses to the consultation should be emailed to or posted to the following address:Organised Crime Branch
Protection and Organised Crime Division
Department of Justice
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 715 440 and your call will be returned.