Human Trafficking and Exploitation
Human trafficking and exploitation are complex and hidden crimes, as well as abuses of human rights and dignity. They are not only international issues, nor are they confined to our larger towns and cities, but can and do affect communities all over Scotland. The many purposes for which people are exploited – including commercial sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, criminal exploitation (for example benefit fraud and forced drugs cultivation), domestic servitude, sham marriages and organ trafficking – are continually evolving. Scottish local authorities are committed to contributing to tackling these issues and supporting victims of trafficking and exploitation.
In 2015 the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 received Royal Assent. In May 2017 the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy (PDF) was laid before Parliament. The Strategy sets out the Scottish Government's approach and commitment to tackling human trafficking by supporting and protecting victims, disrupting the activities of perpetrators and addressing the conditions which foster trafficking, both in Scotland and elsewhere. COSLA is supporting Scottish local authorities in developing collaborative approaches to contribute to the Strategy. COSLA also chairs Action Area 1 within the strategy – this focuses on identifying victims and supporting them to safety and recovery. In autumn of 2017 as part of a public awareness campaign the Scottish Government commission the following advert (youtube). There will be significant activity in this policy area in 2018.
Action Area 2 of the Strategy focuses on identifying perpetrators and disrupting their activity. One areas identified for improvement is for successful actions to be publicised, to send the message that Scotland is a country that is hostile to human trafficking and exploitation. In order to achieve this aim, Scottish Government has been working with stakeholders to create a Human Trafficking and Exploitation Newsletter. The first version of the newsletter was published in October 2017 and can be accessed below: