Peer’s balloon release marks new bid to tackle human trafficking

First Minister Peter Robinson joins MLAs on the steps of Parliament Buildings as 200 balloons were released to mark the launch of the website www.givinghopeni.com in support of Lord Morrow's Human Trafficking Bill
First Minister Peter Robinson joins MLAs on the steps of Parliament Buildings as 200 balloons were released to mark the launch of the website www.givinghopeni.com in support of Lord Morrow's Human Trafficking Bill

UUP MLA Maurice Morrow has organised a balloon release at Stormont to launch a new website. www.givinghopeni.com, which has been created in support of his Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill.

By visiting the website, members of the public can find out more about the bill and how they can take action to tackle the scourge of human trafficking.

Speaking after the launch Lord Morrow said, ‘The address for this site is givinghopeni.com and the focus of my Bill is to give hope to those who find themselves the victim of this terrible trade in human beings.’

Since 2009 over 140 men, women and children have been identified as potential victims of human trafficking in Northern Ireland.

The nature of this crime means that it will always be underreported and these figures represent only the tip of the iceberg.

There has been a growth in knowledge about the problem of human trafficking, but I hope this site will further contribute to the public’s understanding of the crime, and how it affects the lives of victims.

The site also explains the 19 clauses within the bill and how they will support victims and reduce demand for trafficking. Most importantly however it allows people to sign a petition in support of the bill and outline how they can take action against this crime.

Former United States President Jimmy Carter added his backing to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill recently when he wrote to every MLA in support of the efforts within it to tackle human trafficking.

Speaking about taking the Bill through the legislative process in the Assembly Lord Morrow said,‘The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill would see Northern Ireland at the forefront of efforts to tackle the scourge of human trafficking. Too often we have let others lead while we followed.

‘I want Northern Ireland to take the lead. I want other countries to look at our laws and follow the lead we have set. The launch of this website is another step in the campaign towards seeing this legislation hopefully passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly.’