Northern Ireland

Parties unite to fight trafficking

Assembly parties have united to tackle human trafficking in Northern Ireland.

An all-party group has been set up to combat trafficking for sexual and labour exploitation.

Adults and children are also known to be trafficked for criminal activity including illegal drug production, fraud and theft.

The group will raise awareness and build co-operation with parliamentary counterparts in England, Scotland, Wales and Republic of Ireland.

It will also monitor and advocate changes in law, policy and practice.

Anna Lo MLA, chair of the group, said: ''Today is a great step forward in our fight against human trafficking. Assembly members from all parties are committed to making Northern Ireland a hostile place for traffickers.

"We will proactively address gaps in our systems here to bring about the change that is needed to end this modern day slavery''

Grainne Teggart of Amnesty International, an adviser to the Assembly group, said: ''The problem has been growing in scale in Northern Ireland in recent years and the new all party group shows that it will now get the political attention it deserves.

"The all party group will be considering possible changes to the law here and how to better co-ordinate efforts across government and between statutory and non-statutory agencies."