Northern Ireland set to have most comprehensive Human Trafficking legislation in the UK

By Louise Gleich

A Bill that will radically reshape legislation on human trafficking and exploitation in Northern Ireland is moving towards its final stages following significant votes this week.

In a marathon session lasting into the early hours of Tuesday morning (21 October), Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly debated the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Bill during its Consideration Stage, voting on the principle of each clause and a large number of amendments.

The Bill has two main aims: to strengthen the criminal justice response and to establish solid support structures for victims. By addressing both these matters in a comprehensive way, and with the addition of a clause seeking to reduce the demand for trafficking by criminalising the purchase of sexual services, the Bill goes much further than the Modern Slavery Bill currently going through the House of Commons.

The Bill will establish in law the minimum types of assistance and care that should be provided to adult victims of trafficking and includes the power for the Department of Justice to continue the assistance beyond the statutory 45 day period if necessary. The Bill will also create a system of specialist guardians that will …read more

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