Several UK-wide police operations have led to a number of arrests for human trafficking in recent years. Research suggests women and children are being trafficked into Northern Ireland (Martynowicz et al, 2009; Geraghty et al, 2010) and there is evidence that human traffickers are using Belfast International Airport as a port of entry to the UK (DHSSPS/PSNI, 2011). Some media reports state Northern Ireland has been identified as a key gateway for criminal gangs involved in people trafficking to the Republic of Ireland. Concerns about increased numbers of separated children and child trafficking in Northern Ireland have also been expressed by various agencies working with asylum seekers and children.
In response, NSPCC NI and Barnardo's NI have undertaken a preliminary scoping study (2009-2011) to ascertain the incidence of separated children and child trafficking in Northern Ireland. This briefing paper highlights the key findings and associated issues.