Talking about modern slavery at Foyle Film Festival
On 19 November, the Law Centre and Unchosen held a well received film screening and Q&A on forced labour and trafficking at the Nerve Centre, as part of Foyle Film Festival.
The Home Office estimates that there are 10,000 to 13,000 victims of slavery in the UK today. In Northern Ireland, 45 potential victims of trafficking were identified in 2014. This is a 10% increase since 2013. Two thirds of all cases in Northern Ireland involved labour exploitation.
Caroline Maguire is the employment legal adviser at the Law Centre’s Clarendon Street office. She said: “At the Law Centre, we have been dealing with cases of people forced to work in agriculture, food processing and the fishing industry, or exploited in domestic service. We know that this is just the tip of the iceberg as people in forced labour situations are usually unaware of their rights and fearful about coming forward. It is important for the public to learn to recognise the signs so that cases can be uncovered and that exploited people can get the help they need.”
People can find themselves in situations of forced labour in legitimate businesses, not just in illegal enterprises. Many have not been trafficked but are vulnerable to exploitation, maybe because they don’t know their rights or are unsure about their immigration status.
Glenn Jordan, Law Centre (NI) Director, said: “The challenge for Northern Ireland is to identify exploitation where it occurs and to ensure that victims receive full protection and that enforcement measures are put in place to create a strong deterrent.”
The Law Centre’s employment legal advisers provide legal advice and representation to victims of labour exploitation across Northern Ireland. The organisation’s Anti-Trafficking Young People Project helps children and young people who have been identified as victims of trafficking.
Advice line: 028 9024 4401 Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1pm.
The Law Centre has produced a leaflet that can be handed out to people who are suspected victims of forced labour. We hope to distribute it with the help of local community networks as well as statutory agencies. The leaflet tells them that help is available and that they can contact the advice line.