Stewart Dickson MLA said: “Although robust debate has taken place regarding one particular Clause, throughout the legislative process every party has affirmed its abhorrence of human trafficking and modern day slavery as evil and heinous crimes. I believe that every person has inherent dignity, value and worth, and therefore regard human trafficking and slavery as grotesque violations of human rights.
“I am pleased to see the results of David Ford’s work with Lord Morrow to improve this Bill. There have been an unprecedented number of amendments jointly submitted by the Minister and the proposer of the Bill, which have made this legislation better.
“It is a source of deep regret for me and my party, however, that the Assembly has proceeded with the inclusion of Clause 15 on the criminalisation of payment for sexual services. We believe that this complex issue should have been dealt with in a separate piece of legislation. We fear that it could put women in greater danger and prevent people reporting possible cases of human trafficking.”