The UK will be providing Malta with training, legislative assistance and support about awareness raising on modern day slavery and human trafficking.

The support forms part of a two-year Memorandum of Understanding signed on Wednesday by British High Commissioner Stuart Gill and Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia.

Before the signing of the MOU, Mr Gill insisted that slavery was a modern day phenomenon, affecting some 40 million people that included children, adults, men and women.

“No country is immune, including the UK and Malta. Victims are exploited in prostitution, on boats, within the building industry, in cannabis factories and at nail bars, among others,” he said, adding that victims were often deceived and then threatened.

Read: Harsher penalties fail to halt human trafficking

“Modern day slavery has no borders. Criminals and traffickers respect no jurisdiction," Mr Gill said.

He noted that the UK had developed a national referral system, ensuring that victims received appropriate support. It was being reviewed for quicker and improved identification and more effective response.

The MOU would see the High Commission fly experts from the UK to provide training to stakeholders, assistance for legislative reforms, and sharing of best practices on awareness raising.

Ms Farrugia noted that throughout the two years covered by the MOU Malta would devise a comprehensive national strategy against human trafficking.

She said she wanted the fight against human trafficking to become part of the legacy of the current government.

When it came to fighting human trafficking, there was no race, colour or gender, she said.

Read: Malta again fails to take action to fight human trafficking - US State Department

The reform that she is spearheading in relation to human trafficking has allowed the government to meet several stakeholders, from victims to the police. When Malta looked beyond its shores during this process, the UK was the first to offer its support.

“The size of our country limits the level of protection that could be provided to victims, but at the same time it makes it easier to bring all entities around a table,” she said, calling for a convergence of all human trafficking efforts by different ministries.

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