News

TACKLING MODERN SLAVERY

Launch of Guide for Councils

On the 4th May 2020, NILGA and the Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner launched the Tackling Modern Slavery Guide for Councils across Northern Ireland.

The guide, ‘Tackling Modern Slavery: Guide for Councils’ was commissioned by NILGA and the Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership (NISMP), a multi-agency, cross-party and cross-departmental body working to reflect the regionally specific needs of Northern Ireland in the development and implementation of UK immigration policy.

Cllr Frances Burton, NILGA President said; “Modern slavery and human trafficking are a scourge on our society, destroying lives and our local communities. Local government can help and will help to address this abuse.

“As NILGA President, I welcome the development and application of this valuable guidance, it provides clarity for all councils on how they might anticipate and tackle modern slavery through their day to day operations as well as actively engaging at policy level with this issue as public facing elected members and officers.

“Modern slavery and human trafficking are happening daily in Northern Ireland. We must act now to report and stop these crimes at every opportunity.”

Cllr Terry Andrews, NISMP Chair said; “This Guide is a valuable resource for all councils, elected members and officers. As NISMP Chair, I would like to thank our colleagues in the Department of Justice, in particular the Justice Minister, Naomi Long and the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton for their partnership and support in its development. I welcome the application of the Guide in councils, particularly in roles involving public facing functions such as Policing and Community Safety Partnerships (PCSPs), community planning and procurement practices.”

Justice Minister Naomi Long said; “It is utterly intolerable that slavery, in any form, is happening in Northern Ireland.

“Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable people in society. They exploit their victims to coerce and trap them against their will into prostitution, forced labour and criminality.

“Modern Slavery is often referred to as the crime which is hidden in plain sight. Council workers can play a vital role, through their daily work, to detect indicators of slavery and human trafficking and, through greater awareness, feel more confident to report the signs.

“I fully endorse this guidance and welcome the ongoing collaboration between NILGA, my Department and the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Office in the production of this valuable guidance.”

Dame Sara Thornton, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner said; “Modern slavery is a shocking crime, devastating the lives of men, women and children right here on our streets and in our local communities. We must all work together to tackle and prevent this scourge, and nowhere is partnership working more important than across and within local authorities and councils. This guide provides an essential handbook for all councils in Northern Ireland, equipping council personnel and their partners to identify, signpost and support victims of modern slavery.”

ENDS//…

Editorial Notes:
Tackling Modern Slavery: Guide for Councils – is available HERE

NILGA
The Northern Ireland Local Government Association is the representative body for the 11 councils in NI. Its Office Bearers are drawn from the five main political parties. NILGA’s all-council Executive is a regional body which works in partnership with councils to ensure local government’s best interests are considered in decision making by Central and Regional Government.

NISMP
The Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership (NISMP) is a multi-agency, cross-party and cross- departmental body working to reflect the regionally specific needs of Northern Ireland in the development and implementation of UK immigration policy.

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