The shocking figure has prompted George Best Belfast City Airport to announce its partnership with The A21 campaign to host a spectacular event entitled “Frocks for Freedom”, calling for the abolition of human trafficking in the province.
Stunning couture dresses, GAA and rugby stars, fantastic music and more will all be part of the line up at Belfast City Hall on 5 October 2013, which has been sponsored by the Belfast City Airport Community Fund.
“We have been deeply compelled to act and raise awareness about the sad prevalence of trafficking in this country,” said Helen Cupples, Advocate for The A21 Campaign in Ireland and an organiser of Frocks for Freedom.
“Most people don’t know about this problem in Northern Ireland; they think it is too small a country for this to be happening in, but it is occurring, and on a fast growing scale.
“The word freedom gives a clue to the nature of this event and yet its importance cannot be underestimated by any measure. The A21 Campaign exists to abolish injustice in the 21st Century, focusing primarily on the horrors of the growing organised crime, Human Trafficking. In fact, 27million people are enslaved globally.
“A strategy of public education, improved legislative and judicial measures, together with consolidation of a community-based system of support and vigilance to assist with the rescue and ultimate restoration of victims and prosecution of offenders is crucial.”
A recent announcement by the Department of Justice to roll out an information programme about human trafficking into the Northern Ireland school curriculum was welcomed by the A21 Campaign that has grave concerns about the industry’s rate of growth.
Paul Givan MLA, Chair of NI Justice Committee said: "The trafficking of human beings is an abhorrent crime that destroys the lives of victims and their families through this heinous exploitation.
“Tackling this crime requires the co-ordinated and dedicated efforts across all Government Departments and Criminal Justice agencies.”
With support from top Northern Ireland Fashion designers from Unify Fashion Collective, GAA and Rugby players, dancers from Vibe Academy, musicians, including highly- acclaimed singer/ songwriter, Rosie Carney, Frocks for Freedom promises to be an incredibly special evening.
Ruth Morgan, Communications Manager at George Best Belfast City Airport, said: “I was deeply moved when I met with A21 and heard some of the horrifying stories. It’s incredibly sad to think about the sheer scale of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Northern Ireland and disturbing to think it is going on right under our own noses.
“The aim of the airport’s Community Fund, which fines airlines for operating late flights, is about supporting projects which change and improve people’s lives, particularly our young people, and we were shocked to hear the average age of trafficking victims around the world is just 12 years old. We couldn’t sit back and let this happen.”
GAA hurling star Paul Shiels said: “Myself and other players were horrified to learn of the scale of human trafficking in our towns and cities.
“We want to participate in Frocks for Freedom to help highlight the plight of victims and in particular encourage young people to be vigilant and understand how serious this issue is.”
Dave Henderson from Unify said: “It s a privilege to be able to showcase our collections in support of and in the name of those victims who are trapped in lives of cruelty and fear, just a stone’s throw from many of our doors. We are both thrilled and honoured to participate in this great event.”
According to the U.S. Tipp report, 2012, Ireland is a key source, transit and destination state for human trafficking.
For further information or to purchase a ticket for the Frocks for Freedom event, visit www.
If you have any concerns or suspicions regarding the crime of human trafficking, please contact Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555111.
To find out how your community group can benefit from the Belfast City Airport Community fund, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The airport can also be contacted by Facebook and Twitter - @BelfastCity_Air
Destiny Carlisle – model
Colin Shields – Belfast Giants
Paddy McAllister – Ulster Rugby
Helen Cupples – Advocate for The A21 Campaign in Ireland and an organiser of Frocks for Freedom
Paul Givan MLA, Chair of NI Justice Committee
Kate Richardson – 2012 NI Woman of the Year
Ruth Morgan - Communications Manager
Paul Shiells – GAA Hurling