Nothern Ireland: Amnesty welcomes JCHR report, urges government to stop failing trafficked people

Amnesty International in Northern Ireland today (13 October) welcomed the publication of the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ report into human trafficking. The organisation called for more action in Northern Ireland against trafficking and urged the UK government to follow the Committee’s recommendations and sign up to a European Convention Against Trafficking, which would ensure support and protection for the victims of trafficking.

Amnesty International's Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said:

“Amnesty in Northern Ireland has long expressed our concern that trafficking is a problem here. The JCHR report throws welcome light on all forms of human trafficking in the UK and underlines our concerns.

“Victims of all forms of forced labour are the victims of appalling crimes and must receive support and protection from the authorities - not be treated as criminals and sent back to countries where they could face re-trafficking.

"In their report the JCHR has praised Operation Pentameter, a government-funded UK-wide initiative which has led to more than 500 brothel raids and 200 trafficking-related arrests in Briatin. However, the PSNI did not carry out any Operation Pentameter raids and have previously told Amnesty International that they do not believe that sex trafficking is a problem in Northern Ireland.

"This view flies in the face of research from Northern Ireland Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s Aid which has highlighted anecdotal evidence that trafficking of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights for sexual exploitation may be taking place here. Indeed the brothels that have been set up in almost 'every luxury apartment block', according to the PSNI’s Detective Inspector Jeff Smyth, are a perfect front for this modern day form of slavery.

“The JCHR report echoes the view of Amnesty and other organisations that more must be done in Northern Ireland and nationally to combat this growing problem and that the UK must sign up to the European Convention Against Trafficking as a matter of urgency.Trafficking is a grave violation of human rights. The UK government must join the other 30 member states in Europe by setting binding minimum standards for the protection of victims."

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