Ireland: Arrests as couple are quizzed over suspected domestic slavery - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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IrelandArrests as couple are quizzed over suspected domestic slavery

14:05  01 may  2019
14:05  01 may  2019 Source:   belfastlive.co.uk

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A couple are being quizzed by detectives probing Northern Ireland's first suspected domestic slavery case. Police arrested a 33-year-old man in The pair, who police said were originally from different countries in Africa, are suspected of holding a woman as a domestic slave in Belfast for

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Arrests as couple are quizzed over suspected domestic slavery © Getty Images Stock image

A couple are being quizzed by detectives probing Northern Ireland's first suspected domestic slavery case.

Police arrested a 33-year-old man in East Belfast on Tuesday and a 25-year-old woman was arrested in Scotland on suspicion of human trafficking offences for the purpose of domestic servitude.

The pair, who police said were originally from different countries in Africa, are suspected of holding a woman as a domestic slave in Belfast for more than six years.

A search was also carried out at the Belfast property and a number of pieces of documentation and mobile phones were seized.

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A couple have been arrested on suspicion of holding a woman as a domestic slave in Belfast for more than six years. Police said the arrests are the first of their kind in Northern Ireland. The suspected victim escaped the property where she was allegedly being held around 16 months ago

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Detective Inspector Mark Bell , Head of PSNI’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Unit, said the victim was able to leave the home and was in contact with a member of the public who knew what the signs and indicators were and was able to alert the police.

"This victim was brought to Northern Ireland and alleges this had been going on for six years until it was brought to our attention," he added.

"I don't believe it was part of a wider organised crime gang, but however one male was arrested this morning in East Belfast and a female was arrested in Scotland."

He said: "These arrests are part of a protracted investigation into human trafficking for domestic servitude in Northern Ireland which has been going on for over a year. They are the first arrests of their kind for the PSNI.

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Couple arrested in domestic slavery probe. Police said the arrests are the first of their kind in Northern Ireland. The suspected victim escaped the property where she was allegedly being held around 16 months ago and alerted a member of the public, who contacted police.

Domestic slavery Man charged over domestic slavery in Belfast Arrests as couple are quizzed over suspected domestic slavery

"Modern slavery is often an unseen crime as victims can be afraid to speak out or may be being held captive and human trafficking for the purposes of domestic servitude can be particularly difficult to detect.

Arrests as couple are quizzed over suspected domestic slavery © Photopress Belfast Detective Inspector Mark Bell "Victims may be afraid to speak out so we need the public to be aware of the signs to look for so that they don’t miss the opportunity to intervene in a modern slavery incident. Is there always someone else speaking for a person on their behalf? Do people have access to their money, identity documents and freedom of movement?"

The detective said in the last 12 months his team had investigated 59 potential victims of modern slavery and human trafficking - a marked increase from 36 the previous financial year.

He said every victim has a story about a "missed opportunity for rescue" by a person in the community.

In an appeal he urged the public to visit the Human Trafficking section of PSNI’s website and learn about the signs and indicators of human trafficking.

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A couple have been arrested on suspicion of holding a woman as a domestic slave in Belfast for more than six years. Police said the arrests are the They are the first arrests of their kind. “Modern slavery is often an unseen crime as victims can be afraid to speak out or may be being held captive

Police said the arrests "related to suspected travel to Syria". Neighbours of the couple , who live with their children in Luton, described them as "very quiet". A Met Police spokesman said the man remained in custody and the woman had been bailed. They were detained on suspicion of "the preparation of

"It can be hard to believe that modern slavery and human trafficking exists today but it is all too real, especially for the victims," he added.

"Modern slavery is unacceptable as it violates human rights and denies victims their rights to life, freedom and safety. The criminals prey on vulnerable people, control them by fear and exploit them for their own selfish gains.

"We are working as hard as we can but we cannot tackle this problem alone. We rely on the strong partnerships that have been formed through the Department of Justice Organised Crime Task Force but we need the public’s help.

"I would also ask people to contact us with any suspicions that they may have by calling 999 if it’s an emergency, or 101. There’s also a Modern Slavery Helpline on 08000 121 700. One call could end the misery for a victim who could be living next door to you."

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