On Monday evening (14th May 2012) political representatives, campaigners and over 200 interested individuals met as part of the No More Traffik on Our Streets campaign to discuss approaches for raising awareness of and putting an end to human trafficking in Belfast and beyond.
Human Trafficking is modern day slavery and it is being operated in Northern Ireland; with the fastest growing rate in the UK and one of the fastest growing rates in Ireland. Last year 27 people in Northern Ireland were rescued from slavery but there is estimated to be around 27 million people held in slavery across the world.
Welcoming guests at at the Trafficking Forum event held in Orangefield Presbyterian Church Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, paid tribute to all involved with the campaign to raise awareness around the issue of human trafficking. “It is vitally important to highlight the good work being done by many to tackle such a serious problem, and to ensure that we are doing all we possibly can to work together and put a stop to this despicable breach of human rights and dignity”.
Our cross party political representatives were united in their approach to tackling modern day slavery. David McIlveen DUP MLA and Policing Board member said 'Human Trafficking is one of the utmost violations of human freedom. I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at an event such as this, to build upon the work being done by the Assembly, the PSNI, NGOs, charities and other organisations to end this abhorrent practice. It is vital that each sector work together to protect the victims of this despicable crime.'
Other guest speakers included Philip Marshall from the PSNI's serious organised crime branch and leading human trafficking expert Dr Tom Obakata from Queen's University Belfast who shared with the guests about the growth of human trafficking in this region.
They were also joined by Mel Wiggans from Craigavon ACT and Roger McVicker from Migrant Help who shared about the rescue and aftercare procedures available for men, women and children who have been freed from slavery.