Justice Minister, David Ford, has published the first annual Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy for Northern Ireland.
Minister Ford said: “Human trafficking and exploitation are vile crimes which dehumanise victims. They have a destructive impact on society in general. This strategy sets out how my Department intends to work with partners across Government, law enforcement and civil society to put an end to modern slavery and to support victims. The strategy shows what can be achieved when we stand together against these evil practices. It sends a strong message to traffickers that Northern Ireland is closed for business.”
A draft version of the strategy, developed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) was subject to a 12 week public consultation and the final strategy has been amended to reflect a number of suggestions received by respondents to the consultation.
The strategy builds on previous Human Trafficking and Exploitation Action Plans which have helped to set a clear strategic direction for the Department of Justice and its partners. It sets out a challenging programme of objectives and actions that the Department and its partners are committed to driving forward under four strategic priorities: Pursue; Protect and support; Prevent and; Partnership.
David Ford continued “I believe that this strategy will facilitate effective investigations and prosecutions and will help to ensure that victims are identified, protected and supported.