SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has said he is shocked to learn that victims of trafficking and modern day slavery are living in Derry - many of whom find themselves in forced labour and other horrific situations.
The Foyle MP made his comments at the launch of a UK-wide campaign aimed at highlighting the issue of modern day slavery, which includes a dedicated website, specially commissioned television advertisements and a special helpline for victims.
He said: “I have been appalled to learn that even my own constituency is affected by modern day slavery and that there will undoubtedly be deeply traumatised people who have been trafficked to Northern Ireland and abused who are now living in Derry.
“It is of particular concern to me that so many victims of modern day slavery – who find themselves involved in forced labour, sexual exploitations and domestic servitude – are children.
“I want to ensure that everyone in Derry and throughout the North is more alert to the signs of modern day slavery. I also hope that students in schools, public service workers, the PSNI, as well as those in private business will join me in this task. This appalling form of modern day slavery must be stamped out for good.
“I would therefore urge people to be aware of the signs of modern day slavery by visiting www.modernslavery.co.uk – as well as report any suspicions or concerns they may have via the special helpline 0800 0121 700, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111,” he said.
Mr Durkan is an officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and the only member from Northern Ireland of the Bill Committee which is currently scrutinising the new Modern Day Slavery Bill.