Alliance backs Human Trafficking Bill, but believes clause 6 is ineffective

Alliance Justice spokesperson, Stewart Dickson MLA, has spoken in strong support of the Human Trafficking Bill in the Assembly, but has said that prostitution is too complex an issue to be effectively dealt with by a single clause.

Stewart Dickson said that Alliance would be supporting all of the amendments that have been co-signed by the Justice Minister and Lord Morrow, but would be opposing clause 6.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “The Alliance Party is committed to tackling the heinous crime of human trafficking. My colleague Anna Lo established the Assembly Group on human trafficking; Naomi Long has continued to highlight the issue in Westminster; and the Justice Minister David Ford has introduced legislation and awareness campaigns.

“David Ford has worked closely with Lord Morrow to improve the Bill and I support all the changes that the Minister has proposed. They agree on 95% of the Bill, which when passed will be a significant boost in the fight against human trafficking.

“While Alliance supports most of the provisions of this Bill, we do not believe that a single clause can adequately address the complexities around prostitution. The Justice Minister has recently published the first piece of research into prostitution in Northern Ireland which queried whether clause 6 was an effective means to address this issue and raised serious questions about its impact on the safety and welfare of women involved in prostitution. We should be making informed policy decisions based on evidence such as this research. Clause 6 is ineffective; this issue should be dealt with by its own legislation.

“Another problem with this clause is that it is based on a system used in Sweden, which requires police wire taps to gather evidence, which in Sweden can be approved by a local Police Inspector. This model would be unworkable in Northern Ireland.”


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