Peter Lynas from Evangelical Alliance sent the following email with details of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill proposed by Lord Morrow.
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After a debate that ran late into the night, the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill proposed by Lord Morrow has passed the consideration stage in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
This is an area of policy we have been working on for the last few years and we are excited that the Bill has made it to this stage. While no Bill is perfect, and legislation can only take us so far, this is a significant step in the right direction and will lead to Northern Ireland becoming a world leader in tackling human trafficking.
Firstly we commend Lord Morrow, Minister David Ford, the Justice Committee and officials at the Department of Justice for all their hard work. The Bill has been rigorously debated in the media, at committee stage and now on the floor of the Assembly. We also want to particularly highlight the key role of our member organisation CARE. As many of you will know they were instrumental in bringing this Bill about and we want to publicly acknowledge their determination and hard work.
With your help we have also shaped the bill around key provisions like sentencing, judicial discretion, clause 6, victim services and practical support for people leaving prostitution. Much of the debate in the media centred on whether or not to outlaw prostitution, but the Bill is about so much more than this. There are clauses to raise awareness, help people exit prostitution, offer support for victims and to toughen sentencing. As members of the All Party Group on Human Trafficking and the Department of Justice Engagement Group, we have been advocating and shaping policy in this area for some time. It is exciting to see legislation forming which has the potential to challenge and change culture and help those most in need. This is ‘unfinished business’ for Christians, carrying on the work of William Wilberforce to this day.
Again with your help we are pursuing a vision for Northern Ireland where human life and dignity – the essence of what it is to be made in the image of God - are protected from beginning to end. From abortion to trafficking, as well as dealing with the conflict in Northern Ireland, we want to see strong policies which value relationships and wellbeing - creating flourishing communities. This means that we draw very careful lines between freedom and responsibility and the false dichotomy of moral issues and social justice issues.
While some opinions will vary, it was great to see Sinn Fein and the DUP uniting with Woman’s Aid and evangelicals to send out a clear message that people should not be bought or sold. We celebrate the wide reaching protections and support for those who have been trafficked, enslaved and exploited. We celebrate the bravery and vision of our MLAs in passing this Bill. It is a bold commitment to the most vulnerable.
Please pray that the Bill will pass through it final stages smoothly and that it will make a difference on the ground as it becomes law.
University Ulster Coleraine Christian Union is a group of over 100 students who meet every week to share in fellowship and worship God. Our aim is to bring life on campus through the knowing and sharing the person of Jesus. We seek to encourage believing students in their faith, whilst sharing the gospel with the 5000 students at our university. We realise that this can only be done by God’s mighty power. Thank you for supporting us in prayer.
Please pray for:
1. The CU main meetings which run each Wednesday night. That the speakers may have clarity in what they are saying and that God would use what is said to change people’s hearts.
2. The International café, which runs every Monday night. That many international students would feel welcomed to come, and that we would be able to share the love of God with each of them.
3. The Small groups which meet every Monday/Tuesday for a Bible study. That God would really bless the discussion, and that each small group leader would have wisdom in what to say.
4. LIFT, which is an evangelistic programme run every Tuesday night. Pray that God would provide safety as students go down to the local nightclub to offer tea/coffee/soup and share the love of God
5. Ballysally homework club, which runs each Wednesday afternoon. That relationships may be formed with the children, and that there may be opportunities to share the gospel.
6. Milburn kids club. That all the access NI forms may completed quickly and easily, so that the club can begin soon
7. Revival at Coleraine University that many students may come to know Christ as Lord. That in all things, the glory may go to God.