Human Trafficking: The Belfast Angle

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Earlier this week, on my other blog, I found myself writing about human trafficking and how the United Kingdom government was not opting in to an European Union directive that would make it easier to stop this activity. Today here in Northern Ireland that cry could hardly be more pertinent.

The news this afternoon is that several victims of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, both from the UK and foreign countries, have been rescued in a police operation. There are also suspects of this human trafficking being brought to Northern Ireland to be questioned by the PSNI.

Upon the completion of the operation the head of the PSNI Organised Crime Branch Detective Chief Superintendent McComb, said:

“Human trafficking and prostitution is no longer gender specific.

“Men and women are being tricked or forced into prostitution in major towns and cities.

“They are being robbed of their liberty, stripped of their dignity, and suffer intolerable conditions as unwilling emblems of the sex trade.

“This is modern-day slavery where human beings are treated like commodities by sophisticated organised crime gangs who are making substantial criminal profits from the sex trade.”

The Liberal Democrats are strongly opposed to enslavement, as were our Liberal forebears, indeed the pre-amble to our party constitution states (emphasis mine):

“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full.”

Whether, those who have been victims of these human traffickers are through their poverty or ignorance or a combination of both we must champion their right to freedom. We can best do that through some of the good that the EU is doing such as this directive on Human Trafficking, however the Eurosceptic Conservative want nothing new to do with the EU even if it is for the good.

Therefore I urge to stand beside the Liberal Democrats on this issue. Write to you MP and ask them to persuade the Government to opt in to the directive on Human Trafficking. Or even go further and join us in the Liberal Democrats by pressing the link in the sidebar.

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