Health Minister, Simon Hamilton, has announced a six-week consultation on ‘Leaving Prostitution - a Strategy for help and support’.
The Human trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015, which received royal assent on the 13 January 2015, requires that the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) introduce programme of support and assistance for those wanting to exit prostitution.
Announcing the consultation, Mr Hamilton said: “People who want to exit prostitution can face barriers to doing so. For example, some people involved in prostitution may have become involved due to drug or alcohol abuse and need the income to meet the cost of their addiction. For others, prostitution may provide an income which they would find it difficult to attain by other means. Whatever the barrier, we want to provide help and support to those who have decided the time has come for them to give up prostitution.
“This Strategy sets out, for consultation, how we propose to achieve this. This is a complex and difficult issue and we are keen to hear the views of the public. I am very grateful for the engagement we have received so far and look forward to responses we will receive in response to this consultation.”
The consultation will seek views on scope, barriers to exiting prostitution, available support, for example health, finance, housing, employment/training, counselling, as well as governance arrangements.
The consultation will run from Thursday 10 September 2015 to Friday 23 October 2015.
Notes to editors:
- Lord Morrow MLA introduced a Private Members Bill to the Executive in 2013; the Bill received Royal Assent on 13 January 2015 and became the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015. The objective of the Act, is to provide Northern Ireland with a more robust legal framework in relation to:
- the prosecution of traffickers and those subjecting people in Northern Ireland to conditions of slavery
- the provision of improved support for victims
- tackling the demand for the services of trafficked victims
2. The Act also seeks to achieve improved compliance with international obligations under the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the European Directive on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims.
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