Ground-breaking anti-slavery Bill passed in Northern Ireland

By James Mildred

Northern Ireland has stolen a march on all the other home nations by introducing the UK’s most extensive human trafficking law.

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill was voted through at Final Stage and, once it receives Royal Assent, will be the first dedicated anti-slavery legislation to be passed into law by any UK parliament or assembly in more than 200 years.

Anti-trafficking charity CARE, Lord Morrow’s principal advisor throughout the progress of the Bill, has hailed the outcome as a ‘landmark’ moment in the fight against modern day slavery.

The comprehensive legislation will establish a number of key measures including:

  • The establishment of independent guardians to protect and advocate for children who have suffered the trauma of being trafficked or separated from their parents and are at risk of harm.
  • A statutory support service for victims with a minimum length of 45 days during which assistance will be given to adult victims of trafficking.
  • Tougher punishments for those found guilty of trafficking.
  • Victims of trafficking will now also be exempted from conviction for all but the most serious of crimes committed while they were being exploited.

Clause 15 of the Lord Morrow Bill means Northern Ireland will join Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Canada in criminalising paying for …read more

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