The Public Prosecution Service hosted a round table event with criminal justice partners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and migrant representative groups on the subject of human trafficking and modern slavery at their Belfast headquarters on Friday, 20TH October.

The event marked Anti-Slavery Day which was on Wednesday, 18th October and formed part of a week-long series of events on the subject.

Representatives from the PPS’s Serious Crime Unit joined officials from the Home Office and the PSNI’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit to update delegates on a series of cases and policy initiatives.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC, opened the event which was attended by a range of organisations and agencies including the Department of Justice, Invisible Traffick, Migrant Help, Flourish NI and Women’s Aid.

Mr McGrory said: “The trafficking of human beings is a heinous crime which demeans the value of human life. The exploitation of vulnerable men, women and children by predatory criminal groups is something that no civilised country should tolerate. It creates victims who are often some of the most vulnerable members of society. Separated from family and friends with no access to financial help or support, perhaps unable to speak English or communicate with those who may be able to help them.

“I can assure you that we adopt a robust and consistent approach to the prosecution of such cases and will continue to work robustly with others here and in other jurisdictions to make our community a hostile place for traffickers, organised criminals and those who exploit the vulnerable.”

Specialist prosecutors from the PPS’s Serious Crime Unit updated delegates on recent trends and statistics around human trafficking and on the Director’s commitments to tackling modern slavery and human trafficking, which he signed along with the DPP of England and Wales, and Scotland’s Lord Advocate in February 2016.

Both the PPS and PSNI highlighted the importance of interagency work in tackling human trafficking and modern slavery, and two case studies were presented and discussed. The event concluded with an informative question and answer session.