Northern Ireland

Six children saved from sex slavery in NI

Woman with head in hands - generic image

The PSNI saved six children from potential sex slavery in 2018, it has been revealed.

They were among 52 potential victims of human trafficking, a 68% increase on the previous year.

The figures are based on reports to the National Crime Agency's National Referral Mechanism (NRM).

Of those referred to the system, 32 were women, 20 were men and 17 were minors.

The six minors reported for possible sexual exploitation were all female.

In total, 20 referrals came about as a result of claims of sexual exploitation.

Those people referred came from 17 different nationalities.

Seven came from the UK, and there were also seven referrals of Chinese and Romanian nationals.

The National Referral Mechanism, or NRM, is the government system designed to identify and support victims, while making the prosecution of traffickers easier.

Suspected victims are given 45 days to recover while the Home Office investigates their case. A decision on whether their claim is genuine should be made "as soon as possible" after this.

A positive decision could affect their immigration status and the likelihood of them facing criminal charges.

Where to get help

If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, contact the police - call 999 if it's an emergency, or 101 if it's not urgent.

If you'd prefer to stay anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you want confidential advice about trafficking before calling the police, there are a number of specialist organisations you can talk to:

The Modern Slavery helpline 0800 0121 700, is open 24 hours a day.

If you think a child is in danger of trafficking you can contact the the NSPCC's helpline 0808 8005 000.

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