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Refuge For Sex Traffic Victims Launched

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Oct 3rd, 2011.

From left to right are Rakhshanda Shahzad, Donna Powell, Bob Tooby - Anti Human Trafficking Coordinator for the Welsh Government, Chris Elmitt, Mutale Merrill and Fran Laity.

A refuge and support service has been set up in Wrexham for female victims of trafficking, sexual exploitation and those forced to work in prostitution in North Wales.

The Wrexham based voluntary organisation the Black Association of Women Step Out (BAWSO) has been selected by the Welsh Government to deliver the Diogel Project which has a refuge for up to three trafficked women and provides a safe and supportive environment for them while their cases are being processed.

The project aimed at supporting victims of human trafficking is identified within the Welsh Government’s “Right to be Safe” strategy which is a six year integrated strategy for tackling all forms of violence and domestic abuse against women.

The UK is now one of the main countries across Europe being targeted by human traffickers and as it is a largely hidden problem the true extent of the crime and the number of victims suffering in Wales is still unknown.

A recent report estimated that 32 adults and 30 children have been trafficked into Wales with police intelligence indicating that trafficking cases are on the rise.

Mutale Merril OBE, Chief Executive of BAWSO said: “We are delighted that so many colleagues from partner organisations came along to the launch of the Diogel Project in Wrexham.

“We at BAWSO have already gained considerable experience in this very complex area of work as a result of our partnership with the Poppy project which began in South Wales in 2009. I am now looking forward to working with the Salvation Army and other key partners in North Wales.”

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