Detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit are supporting the National Crime Agency’s Operation Aidant in efforts to tackle the issue of modern slavery and human trafficking.
Op Aidant involves the ongoing and shared efforts of police forces and partner organisations. And today, Sunday 3 December, sees the culmination of one week of intensified action.
Detective Inspector Rachel Miskelly said: “We are committed to identifying and disrupting the activities of individuals and organised crime groups who would seek to traffic innocent and vulnerable victims.
“Traffickers will use any means possible, exploiting air, land or sea borders to move victims for the purpose of exploitation.
“Detectives from our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit, along with other PSNI officers and Harbour Police, have been working with partners from the Joint Agency Task Force, including An Garda Síochána and Border Force. Our collective efforts are huge, and all with the ultimate aim of disrupting the criminal activities of traffickers, and safeguarding potential victims.
“We’ve been engaging with passengers from flights arriving into Belfast International Airport. Here, we also enlisted the support of cash-detection Police Dog Nittu in order to detect any potential cash derived from trafficking.
“Along with Harbour Police, we’ve been speaking with passengers at Belfast Port. And our Safe Transport Team have been engaging with passengers using the local transport hubs.
Detective Inspector Miskelly continued: “Sadly, the issue of modern slavery and human trafficking is very real. There could be victims of exploitation in your street or neighbourhood, and these victims are often afraid or unable to ask for help.
“I am appealing to anyone who has information, or concerns, that someone is being controlled or exploited to please do the right thing and speak up.
“Likewise, if you have been exploited, please speak to us. I can assure that you will be treated with total respect and sensitivity.
“In an emergency call 999; 101 in a non-emergency; or call the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 012 1700.”
You can find more information on the Human Trafficking page of the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s website, which includes tell-tale signs to look out for.