Hale welcomes launch of all party group on human trafficking

LAGAN Valley MLA Brenda Hale has welcomed the launch of the Assembly’s All Party Group on Human Trafficking as a ‘very positive development’ in promoting effective action against trafficking.

The new group is hoping to tackle the issues associated with trafficking through awareness- raising, building co-operation with parliamentary counterparts throughout the UK and by advocating changes in the law, policy and practice.

Speaking after the launch Mrs Hale said she was delighted to be part of the new group and hoped that it could be instrumental in preventing this type of criminal activity from escalating.

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“I am worried that whilst we only identified 27 potential human trafficking cases in Northern Ireland last year, the majority of those trafficked tend to go un-noticed” she said.

“People who have been the victims of trafficking live in the most appalling of conditions and are generally held against their will for either labour or sexual exploitation.”

She added: “More needs to be done to ensure that statutory agencies better coordinate strategy on trafficking but we all have a role to play in recognising the signs that somebody is being trafficked and to draw awareness to the issue.

“I am committed to ensure that those criminals who are engaged in trafficking crimes are brought to justice whilst ensuring that victims are given the best possible support in getting back their lives.”