Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 came into effect on 15th January 2015. The act simplifies the offences of Human Trafficking and Slavery and introduces the offence of Forced Marriage and the new offence of paying for sexual services.
Human Trafficking includes the following exploitation(s):
- Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour
- Sexual exploitation
- Removal of Organs
- Securing services etc. by force, threats or deception
- Securing services from children, vulnerable people.
Victims of Human Trafficking may be controlled in the following manner:
- Violence / fear of violence including physical or emotional abuse
- Fear of reprisal on family
- Financial abuse with wages being withheld or victim being “fined”
- Debt bonded (owe money to controller for transport/accommodation etc.)
- Fear and mistrust of authorities (deportation, arrest).
Possible Signs of Human Trafficking (not an exhaustive list):
- Movement of persons at strange times
- Foreign nationals (workers not integrating)
- Oblivious control (person speaking /translating for victim)
- Poor living conditions (numerous occupants in single house)
- Inappropriate clothing for place/conditions of work.
- Seldom leave premises (accompanied by minder)
- No documentation
- Confused, frightened, distressed.
For further signs and indicators please visit https://www.unodc.org/pdf/HT_indicators_E_LOWRES.pdf
What we will do?
Upon receipt of information about a Potential Victim of Human Trafficking PSNI will respond appropriately. We may take any or all of the following actions:
- Remove victim to safe place
- Task an interpreter if required
- Record an initial account and gain consent for referral.
- Refer victim details to the National Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit (MSHTU) so victims can be supported by support groups through National Referral Mechanism (NRM)
- Commence a criminal investigation where appropriate.
Human Trafficking is not Human Smuggling - The procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of illegal entry of a person into a State Party of which the person is not a national or permanent resident.
What can I do?
- Recognise that it is happening to you or someone in your community
- Report suspicions to PSNI by phoning 101
- Accept that victims are not to blame
- Get help and support by contacting the PSNI
- Get advice about your legal rights and protection.
Who can help me?
- We are here to help you. We will investigate any incident and take action where there is sufficient evidence
- We will protect Victims of Slavery or Trafficking from immediate or future harm
- We will give you information about criminal proceedings and how we will handle the situation
- We will give you information on local support agencies who can help you
The PSNI Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Unit is part of C2 Serious Crime Branch, Specialist Investigation Unit led by D/Superintendent Rachel Shields. The unit is currently located at PSNI Ladas Drive Belfast and is staffed by Detectives who are experienced and knowledgeable concerning the investigation of Human Trafficking and Exploitation.
Women’s Aid is one of the local charities that are contracted by the Department of Justice to help support female victims of Human Trafficking.
Migrant Help is one of the local charities that are contracted by the Department of Justice to help support male victims of Human Trafficking.
Social Services will provide practical assistance and guidance to Child victims of Human Trafficking.