· ‘Public awareness key in the fight against human trafficking’ – Tánaiste
· UN initiative highlights experiences of victims of trafficking 
 
6 March 2017
 
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D., praised the volunteer spirit of those involved in raising public awareness around the issue of human trafficking when she visited the UN Gift Box today.
 
The UN GIFT Box is a unique piece of public art that will be touring Ireland throughout the month of March to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern day slavery. It is a walk-in installation where members of the public can learn more about the deception involved in human trafficking and the suffering of the victims drawn in by traffickers. The colourful street installation has been placed outside the Central Bank Building in Dame Street since Saturday and is staffed by a team of volunteers who invite passers-by to step inside and confront the reality of human trafficking.
 
Speaking at the UN Gift Box, the Tánaiste praised the volunteers involved in bringing the GIFT Box around the country, and highlighted the importance of public awareness in the fight against human trafficking:
 
“Human trafficking is a horrendous crime, one which sees the most vulnerable people deceived, coerced, exploited and harmed. It often begins with promises of a better life. I think this box captures that idea in a very thought-provoking way.
 
“Public awareness is a key part of our strategy for combating human trafficking, as outlined in the Second National Action Plan which I launched last October.  Those of us who carry the legislative and law enforcement responsibilities to counter this terrible crime need a well-informed public in order to succeed. Groups like APT, Act to Prevent Trafficking, are key to raising public awareness and educating Irish people about the horrors of this crime and what can be done to prevent it.
 
“I commend them for their initiative, and I’m sure they will get a great response as they take this project on the road over the next few weeks.”
 
UN GIFT, or Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking, is an initiative of the United Nations and anti-human trafficking NGOs. Act to Prevent Trafficking (APT) is the Irish NGO which is coordinating the delivery of the GIFT Box to more than a dozen locations around Ireland. The initiative is supported by the Department of Justice and Equality through the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and by An Garda Síochána through the Human Trafficking Investigation and Coordination Unit.
 
The Tánaiste was joined at the event on Dame Street in Dublin by APT’s coordinators and volunteers, members of An Garda Síochána and representatives of UN Agencies based in Ireland.
 
ENDS
 
For further information on the locations where the UN Gift Box will be place, please visit www.aptireland.org 
For more information on Human Trafficking in Ireland and to access the Second National Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking In Ireland, please visit www.blueblindfold.gov.ie