Following the publication of the first Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland inspection report into human slavery and human trafficking, Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Talbot, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit, said: “We welcome this positive inspection report acknowledging that excellent working relationships exist between specialist police officers working in the Police Service’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit and specialist prosecutors working in the PPS.
“Inspectors also praised the introduction of single points of contact within our policing Districts to provide support and guidance to local officers in response to this emerging crime area as an ‘an excellent initiative, with the potential for the role to be developed further’.
“We will continue to build on this good work and following the recommendations made as a result of the inspection we will be developing an action plan to deliver on these. We will also continue to work other partners, specifically the Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution Service, to help them with any recommendations they are leading on.
“Modern slavery is a priority for the Police Service and in 2015 the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit was created with a dedicated team of specialist officers to investigate these abhorrent crimes which are committed against some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“There are many different reasons why victims are trafficked, including for sexual exploitation or labour exploitation where people are forced to perform work that is either legal or illegal, such as in car washes, factories, forced begging, cannabis cultivation or drug dealing.
“Modern slavery denies victims their human right to life, safety and freedom. The criminals prey on vulnerable people, control them by fear and exploit them for their own selfish gains.
“We are working hard but we cannot tackle this problem alone. This is why we will continue to work closely with partner agencies in the Department of Justice’s Organised Crime Task Force, as well as with An Garda Siochana, National Crime Agency, Public Prosecution Service, Immigration Enforcement, Border Force, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Custom and the Health and Safety Executive.”
For further information on the signs to look out for visit the Human Trafficking page on PSNI’s website. People can contact police with any suspicions that they may have by calling 999 if it’s an emergency, 101 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700.