Human trafficking: Not here, not there, not anywhere
Guest post from Rowena McCaughan, a work experience student from Methodist College Belfast:
There are an estimated 27 million adults and 13 million children around the world today who are victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking is the possession of people by improper means, such as force, threat or deception, for the purpose of exploiting them. Countless human rights have been abused and lives destroyed by this horrific crime. But the problem isn’t going away. “Modern Slavery” is considered to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world and there are more human slaves in the world today than ever before in history.
Despite this, there is often a common misconception that human trafficking is a crime which only occurs in distant far-flung countries. However, the truth is that it is an international epidemic, occurring all over the world; including Northern Ireland. Hundreds of people have fallen victim to traffickers in Northern Ireland, First Minister Peter Robinson has said. Since April 2013, more than a dozen potential human trafficking victims have been referred for specialist support in Northern Ireland, and the problem is continuing to grow.
That is why we must take a stand against this alarming problem, by taking action to combat human trafficking in Northern Ireland and around the world. Raising awareness makes people realise the reality and severity of the issue, contributing to bringing about change.
Amnesty International is therefore working closely with the Northern Ireland Assembly, Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to tackle this growing problem, by making Northern Ireland a hostile location for human trafficking to take place. It is the impact that human trafficking has on the human rights and well-being of victims that is AIUK’s priority focus.
Amnesty assists in an advisory and secretariat capacity for the All Party Group on Human Trafficking at the Northern Ireland Assembly, which aims to address the problem of human trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation here. It aims to ensure that sufficient protection and support is provided to the victims of trafficking to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
We are also a member of the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group, set up in May 2009 to measure the UK Government's compliance with a Europe-wide initiative on human trafficking. This included a report entitled “Wrong Kind of Victim?” which analysed UK measures to protect trafficked persons. The Group prioritises human rights, focusing on the well-being and best interests of trafficked persons.
Human trafficking and its violation of human rights cannot be allowed to continue without strong action being taken against it; not here in Northern Ireland or anywhere else in the world.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.