Amnesty International has welcomed the police action that has led to the rescue of a number of suspected victims of trafficking, after raids on a number of Belfast brothels.
Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director, Patrick Corrigan, said:
"We hope these women can be properly identified as trafficking victims and receive the support, temporary accommodation and medical attention they may need.
“Based on recent cases, though, there’s a risk that they could instead be treated not as victims but as illegal immigrants, and could even end up being forcibly removed from the country, perhaps going straight back into the hands of the traffickers.
"The police should be commended for helping to free women from this modern-day slavery, but there needs to be for more effort made to crack the trafficking gangs and bring criminals to justice.
"According to figures we published in June, between April 2009 and April 2010 a total of 25 people were identified as presumed trafficked persons in Northern Ireland, yet there hasn’t been a single successful trafficking prosecution as a result.
"We need better implementation of the European Convention against Trafficking - only then will it be possible to treat victims of trafficking compassionately, and properly prosecute the criminals behind this horrible human rights abuse", he concluded.