Belfast-based anti-trafficking organisation No More Traffik is seeking to have a greater impact in the fight against modern slavery in Northern Ireland by becoming part of the larger charity Hope for Justice.
Pete Kernoghan, formerly Development Director and Founder of No More Traffik, has become a member of staff at Hope for Justice (which is headquartered in Manchester and has operations across five continents) to further develop and expand the work in Northern Ireland.
He said: “The number of people identified as potential victims of modern slavery and human trafficking in Northern Ireland has increased by 146% since 2018*, and we know that many more people go unidentified. By working with the additional expertise of the team at Hope for Justice, we can make more of an impact and help change more lives.”
No More Traffik is primarily an awareness-raising and frontline professional training organisation in Northern Ireland. Hope for Justice does similar work in Great Britain and many other countries around the world, and also works directly with victims and survivors through outreach, community engagement, advocacy and (in some countries) residential aftercare.
Above: Hope for Justice CEO, Tim Nelson, with No More Traffik founder Pete Kernoghan
The coming together of the two charities will see Hope for Justice becoming active in Northern Ireland for the first time. Hope for Justice CEO, Tim Nelson, who himself grew up and went to school in Belfast, said: “Expanding our work to include Northern Ireland is both strategic and necessary if we want to react to changing legislation and work with key partners such as the Department of Justice to bring about lasting impact. By educating frontline workers to spot the signs and identify those at risk, we amplify awareness, which leads to action and action leads to change.
“No single organisation can eradicate modern slavery – we need to work together to release more resources, offer better training, have better thinking and improve our partnerships. That is the heartbeat to this, coming together to make an even greater difference in Northern Ireland and beyond.”
A video of Tim Nelson and Pete Kernoghan in conversation is available here, and both are available for interview. Photos available on request.
Notes to editors:
-No More Traffik was established in 2012 and has been part of training PSNI recruits, as well as doctors, nurses, midwives and A&E staff, social workers, youth workers, homeless shelter staff and community and religious leaders. In its most recent full year of activities, the charity delivered training to over 700 frontline professionals likely to come in contact with victims of modern slavery, and delivered general awareness-raising presentations to over 5,500 people in Northern Ireland.
-Hope for Justice was founded in 2008 and runs anti-slavery projects in the UK, USA, Norway, Cambodia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Australia. From April 2020 to March 2021, its work reached 192,667 people, including 4,844 victims and survivors who were rescued from modern slavery or were helped through outreach or aftercare. The charity reached 21,170 people through formal training and community prevention work, and a further 166,653 people attended awareness events or received indirect support.
-Hope for Justice had a central role in the largest modern slavery investigation and prosecution in UK history, in which a gang exploited an estimated 400 victims in the English West Midlands between 2012 and 2017. Hope for Justice was the first to identify the trafficking network’s activities and, with West Midlands Police and the National Crime Agency, identified 92 of its victims, helping them to give evidence in court and to rebuild their lives. Eight people were jailed for trafficking-related offences in July 2019 following the investigation, known as Operation Fort, and a further three were jailed on 24th September 2021.
– *National Referral Mechanism statistics available here. In 2012, there were just 15 people identified as potential victims of modern slavery in Northern Ireland and referred for help through the official government scheme, rising to 52 in 2018, 91 people in 2019, and 128 people in 2020. Note that while a rise in referrals can be a positive indicator of previously hidden victims being identified at a greater rate, it could also suggest a greater underlying prevalence in this terrible crime.
– Hope for Justice impact statistics available in full here
– No More Traffik impact statistics available in full here