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30 August 2012

Press release

Consultation on Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill

Consultation on Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill

The Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland today welcomes news of the consultation on Lord Morrow's Human Trafficking and Consultation Bill.

David Smyth, Public Policy Officer at the Evangelical Alliance and member of the All Party Group on anti-trafficking comments, "We have long been calling for serious measures to tackle the demand for sex trafficking in Northern Ireland. Lord Morrow is essentially advocating for the 'Swedish Model' which outlaws the purchase of sexual services. This law had a significant impact on prostitution and sex trafficking in Sweden. Many people would be surprised to know that prostitution is not technically illegal in Northern Ireland and where prostitution is allowed sex trafficking will follow. According to Swedish Police, the ban on the purchase of sexual services acts as a barrier to human traffickers and procurers who are considering establishing themselves in Sweden (1). We hope the same will be true here."

David continues, "We are leading a campaign (2) to change the present law whereby someone who has sex with a prostitute or trafficked victim who has been subjected to force can only receive a maximum of a £1,000 fine. At any other time we call this rape. We would like to see the current law on this point strengthened alongside these proposed reforms. Again we are calling for serious sentences for the perpetrators of these serious crimes, namely prison and even a short spell on the sex-offenders register."

David concludes, "Today's news also highlights the broader issues which lie behind the demand for buying sex. We live in a culture that has detached sex from marriage and relationship and turned it into a commodity to be consumed through pornography, casual encounters or prostitution and sex trafficking. We need to start thinking in a new way about how to deal with these broader issues that affect our sexual mental health and our relationships, wellbeing and wider society."

Trafficking is a key justice and freedom issue and we are working with many charities and churches here to bring this to an end.

Media Enquiries

David Smyth, public policy officer, Northern Ireland

Danny Webster
Tel: 07766 444 650
Email: d.webster@eauk.org

Notes to Editors

(1) The Ban against the Purchase of Sexual Services. An evaluation. 1999-2008. Selected extracts of the Swedish government report SOU 49 [2010] Swedish Institute.

(2) Stop Trafficking in Northern Ireland.

The Evangelical Alliance, formed in 1846, is the largest body serving evangelical Christians in the UK, and has a membership including denominations, churches, organisations and individuals. The mission of the Evangelical Alliance is to unite evangelicals to present Christ credibly as good news for spiritual and social transformation. According to a Tearfund survey (Churchgoing in the UK, 2007), there are approximately 2 million evangelical Christians in the UK. For more information please visit www.eauk.org