Justice Minister launches consultation on Human Trafficking Strategy

Justice Minister Claire Sugden
Justice Minister Claire Sugden

Justice Minister, Claire Sugden has 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.