18/01/2011

Irish Human Trafficking Campaign Launched

The scourge of worldwide human trafficking is to be in the spotlight locally and across the whole of Ireland as the Stormont Justice Minister David Ford today launched a public awareness initiative.

He said they have an important role to play in the fight against human trafficking, where men, women and children are being trafficked into and across Ireland as part of an "evil trade".

The Alliance party Minister has now urged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.

He said that the Department of Justice at Stormont has joined forces with the Department of Justice and Law Reform in Dublin to raise public awareness of human trafficking right across Ireland.

David Ford was also joined by a representative from the police and the UK's Human Trafficking Centre, to launch the 'Blue Blindfold' campaign and said it would run across NI for the next three months.

At the same time, in Dublin, Dáil Minister Dermot Ahern is also to begin a parallel public information campaign.

In launching the Blue Blindfold campaign, which will include radio, outdoor, press and Internet advertisements, Minister David Ford encouraged people to open their eyes to human trafficking.
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"It is difficult to accept that this form of modern day slavery is happening in NI.

"I hope this campaign helps to open eyes to this heinous crime and that people realise it could be happening in a location near them," he said.

"I welcome the opportunity for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to launch campaigns on this important issue at the same time. Human trafficking knows no borders and it is important that we work together to highlight and detect this crime."

Meanwhile, launching the campaign in the Republic of Ireland, which includes press advertisements and the distribution of posters and leaflets, Minister Ahern said: "The trafficking of human beings for sexual and/or labour exploitation or the removal of organs is a most serious offence that has no place across the island of Ireland.

"We are very committed to taking a strong approach to jointly combating this crime and urge all members of the public to assist us in this task," he said.

Anyone with suspicions of human trafficking in Northern Ireland to report their concerns anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or to visit the Blue Blindfold website: www.blueblindfold.co.uk

(BMcC)

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