Within the UK human Trafficking can look like Forced labour, sexual exploitation, forced criminality, domestic servitude and organ harvesting.
Not all these types of trafficking are endemic, but they are happening (there hasn’t been a case of organ harvesting in NI that we know of but read about cases in the UK here).
In part 1 and 2 of this 3 part blog we have chatted a lot about sexual exploitation and the grooming of people (mostly children and young people) online.
There are a lot of people suffering in different ways within NI from illegal car washes to nail salons people are working and not getting paid. They may be on a construction site with no protective clothing, or it may be someone forced to beg on the street. It could be a young person who thought they could earn money doing deliveries without realising the packages they are delivering are drugs which will lead down a path of crime they never anticipated. All these things are human trafficking and are happening in NI.
The UN definition of human trafficking can be summed up as: The movement, coercion, and exploitation of people for profit. This profit as we know never goes into the hands of the victim only to the trafficker who is exploiting them.
Trafficking within NI is not just happening to people being brought into this country this is happening to local people who have vulnerabilities that a trafficker is attuned to. This includes but isn’t limited to someone who is looking for love and belonging, someone who is desperate for money due to poverty, someone who has health issues (physical and mental) or it might be a child. Traffickers spend all their time finding the people to coerce and exploit so they know what they are looking for. What we can do is stand together and look out for the vulnerable in our communities and make NI a place where exploitation isn’t ignored or accepted but called out and brought into the light.
Our next blog series will be on the signs of these types of Human trafficking so that you can protect yourself and your community from being exploited and recognise when human trafficking is happening right in front of you.