Watch: TV spots highlight the dangers of illegal money lending by paramilitary gangs
Two new television advertisements, which will air on both UTV and Channel 4 at 9 p.m. Monday, aim to highlight the dangers of illicit money lending by paramilitary gangs to control and exploit vulnerable people.
he Northern Ireland Executive Program to Combat Paramilitary, Crime and Organized Crime is launching ads as part of its current âEnding the Harmâ awareness campaign.
The two commercials tell how a small loan from a paramilitary lender can quickly get out of hand.
One ad focuses on the victim and their experience with the loan, and the second highlights the paramilitary lender and her actions.
Justice Minister Naomi Long said, âWe know from research and evidence that paramilitary gangs and the illicit money lending related to them are using to try to coerce and control people and communities for their own benefit.
âWhen this campaign started in June, I said that illicit money lending is an underrated crime targeting the vulnerable when they are most desperate.
âIn the current climate, people face real financial challenges,â she added.
âWith the ongoing pandemic, rising energy and fuel costs, and Christmas just around the corner, many people are vulnerable and are very concerned about how they will make ends meet.
âWe know that victims of such crimes often feel that they have no one to turn to. But there is support and help. “
The Minister of Justice encourages all victims of such criminal behavior to turn to the police.
Advice NI also operates a free and confidential debt service that provides practical advice and support to people dealing with debt of any nature.
“The Cross-Business Program to Combat Paramilitarism, Crime and Organized Crime works to build safer communities that are resilient to paramilitarism, crime and coercive control,” she said.
“This is important work in ending the damage being done to our society by paramilitary gangs.”
Advice NI is an independent charity that provides confidential debt advice to anyone in this situation.
Bob Strong, Chief Executive of Advice NI, said, âOur debt counselors are trained experts who can provide help and assistance to people with any type of debt.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable (ACC), Mark McEwan, said, âThese criminals impose unreasonable interest rates and expensive penalties that borrowers cannot afford.
âWhen people default on their payments, they threaten exposure, embarrassment and violence. They make borrowers believe that there is no way out of the situation.
âI encourage anyone who feels caught in such a situation to report it to the police on the non-emergency number 101 or file an online report using our non-emergency report form at http://www.psni. Police.uk/makeareport/. “