There has been a a 52% increase since 2013 in the number of referrals for human trafficking in Scotland. A rise of 3.4% on figures for 2016. This represents 150 people, 47 of whom were children.
The largest number were from Vietnam(51) ,China (30) and Albania (13) and the main reason was for labour exploitation. In other words, modern slavery. Orkney is included in the areas where this is found.
Detective Chief Superintendent Lesley Boal, head of Public Protection for Police Scotland said:
“Tackling human trafficking is a priority for Police Scotland.”
“It is exploitation and victimisation of vulnerable people and while challenging and complex to investigate, we are determined to improve the intelligence picture in order to gain a better understanding of trafficking in Scotland and the organised crime groups who are involved.”
“We will target those who control, abuse and exploit others by working collaboratively with partners to ensure that Scotland is a hostile environment to this sickening trade.”
For the first time the locations have been listed of where the crime of modern slavery has been discovered. Most people would think that this is an issue for big cities but the inclusion of Orkney and rural communities show that it occurs even in the quietest of places.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Scottish Government, Michael Matheson said:
“Human trafficking is an appalling abuse of human rights. This horrific crime affects the most vulnerable in society and has wide reaching consequences for its victims.”
“Generating awareness that the exploitation of adults and children is happening in Scotland today is key to bringing it to an end. This important campaign is part of a series of measures being implemented to eliminate this terrible crime. No one should ever be bought or sold.”
Human trafficking research has shown that although people do not think it happens near where they live they also say that if they discovered it was happening 80% would report it to the Police with only 1% saying they would do nothing at all.
The Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy of the Scottish Government has been welcomed by organisations fighting this crime including Police Scotland, Migrant Help and Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA).
John Merralls, senior operations manager at Migrant Help UK, said:
“The stance taken by the Scottish Government clearly demonstrates its commitment to eradicating human trafficking in Scotland and Migrant Help UK are proud to work alongside TARA, providing support to those who have been recovered and empowering these victims to rebuild their often shattered lives so they can go on to establish a positive and successful future for themselves.”
Modern Slavery Helpline or call 08000 121 700
Migrant Help (0141 884 7900 (daytime) 0141 212 8553 (out of hours)
TARA( 0141 276 7724 (anytime)
Reporter: Fiona Grahame