A recent report by two children’s charities, the NSPCC and Barnardos, has revealed that Belfast is being used as a vital gateway for human traffickers who are seeking to bring their victims into the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The report has warned that the problem of human trafficking in Ireland is likely to grow.
Already, there has been one confirmed case of a young boy traffcked to Ireland to work in a local Indian restaurant, yet the NSPCC has revealed there are at least seven other children who have been identified as trafficking victims. Astonishingly, it is thought that over 10,000 children are trafficked in the UK every year.
This recent report comes at a time when the police ‘crack-down’ on traffickers in Northern Ireland has been stepped up a gear. In 2010, twenty-three victims of trafficking were rescued after a series of police raids and in the 5 months from April to August of 2011 twenty-two trafficking victims were rescued by the police, many from residential accommodation that was being used as a brothel.
Kit Gibbens from the Child Trafficking and Information Line (CTAIL) has said: “we’ve dealt with over 500 calls in the past four years through the child trafficking and information line so that shows the scale of the problem”.
This is why we ACT…
Thankfully STOP THE TARFFIK ACT groups (Active Communities Against Trafficking) are doing some amazing work in Northern Ireland to help raise awareness about human trafficking and make it harder for traffickers to hide themselves and their victims.
Last week I spoke to Mel from the Craigavon Area ACT group who told me about the inspirational work that the group are doing. .. Not only have the group been invited to deliver 2 hours of training to local police about human trafficking but, due to their great work, the local police have now assigned an officer to deal with human trafficking issues and directly support the group. Amazing news!
To mark Anti-slavery Day (18th October) the group are planning a community awareness day where they will distribute STOP THE TRAFFIK flyers – particularly to taxi ranks and bus and train stations. AND they already have the involvement of the local media and MPs.
The STOP THE TRAFFIK team wish you all the best for your day of campaigning!
If you’d like to get involved with the Craigavon Area Act group you can find them on Facebook!
Would you like to start an ACT group?
STOP THE TRAFFIK passionately believe that human trafficking starts in the community and can be stopped by the communtity. Visit our website to find all the resources you’ll need to form your own group and beginto make your community TRAFFIK-FREE!