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Ford meets with Church leaders to discuss human trafficking

Justice Minister David Ford has held bilateral meetings with the leaders of the four main churches in Northern Ireland to discuss human trafficking.
Thursday, 23 January 2014

Churches are a significant part of our community and can play a vital role in identifying and reporting trafficking and exploitation where it occurs or is suspected.

Minister of Justice David Ford MLA,Northern Ireland Department of Justice

David Ford said: “Over the past few months, I have met with leaders from the Roman Catholic Church, Presbyterian Church, Methodist Church and Church of Ireland to discuss the common concern of human trafficking.  

“There was unanimous agreement that human trafficking is a horrendous crime that has a harrowing effect on its victims and that if we are to make Northern Ireland truly hostile to traffickers we need to work together in partnership across all sections of our society.  Churches are a significant part of our community and can play a vital role in identifying and reporting trafficking and exploitation where it occurs or is suspected.”

The meetings focussed around the provisions in the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Bill, introduced in the Northern Ireland Assembly by Lord Morrow.

David Ford continued: “I am encouraged by the level of understanding and commitment that church leaders have displayed on the issue of human trafficking.  They can play an important part in shaping the debate on how to effectively tackle human trafficking and slavery in Northern Ireland.”

The Department is currently consulting on further proposals designed to strengthen the response to human trafficking and slavery in Northern Ireland.  The proposals take account of previous legislation, the Modern Slavery Bill published in England and Wales, and Lord Morrow’s Bill.

Notes to Editors

1. The current consultation on human trafficking and slavery will run from Tuesday 21 January 2014 until 5pm on Tuesday 15 April 2014 and is available to view on the Department’s website at

http://www.dojni.gov.uk/human-trafficking-and-slavery-strengthening-northern-irelands-response

2.  For all media queries, please contact the DOJ Press Office on 028 9052 6444.  Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.