Human trafficking in Scotland - Amnesty giving evidence to Equal Opportunities Committee

Amnesty International is today giving evidence on human trafficking to the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee.

In written evidence submitted ahead of the session , Amnesty has drawn specific attention to the previous lack of accurate information on the scale of trafficking in Scotland and the lack of prosecutions; as well as the failings of the current National Referral System.

Shabnum Mustapha, Programme Director for Amnesty in Scotland, said:

"There have been 150 convictions for trafficking offences in England and Wales, but only one successful prosecution in Scotland. Prosecutions for lesser offences, whilst potentially easier to prove, carry lesser punishments, and make it impossible to know the scale and nature of trafficking here. Whilst we welcome the Scottish Government's consideration of a statutory human trafficking criminal aggravation, there should be more efforts to pursue full prosecutions as in England and Wales.

"The Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee’s own report into Trafficking and Migration, published in 2010, recommended that a Scottish referral mechanism be set up which places the welfare of the potentially trafficked individual above all else.
 
“We were disappointed that this recommendation was not taken up and would urge the Scottish Government to lead the way in tackling this form of modern-day slavery and adopt the Committee’s recommendation. We need to ensure that traffickers are pursued vigorously and that it is the welfare of the victim which is the primary concern. We also need to ensure that individuals showing signs of being trafficked are identified early and given the support they need.”

Notes

Amnesty International Scotland produced a ground-breaking report in 2008 called ‘Scotland’s Slaves’ which highlighted the prevalence of human trafficking in Scotland and what services exist to support trafficking victims. It focused on Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and girls trafficked into the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude.

In 2010 the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group, which included Amnesty International, published its first report ‘The Wrong Kind of Victim’. In the report, the group stated that the current anti-trafficking measures are not ‘fit for purpose’ especially in relation to identification and prosecution.

  • Download Amnesty's evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee on Human Trafficking March 2012 (PDF)
  • Scottish Parliament agenda and notes regarding today's Equal Opportunities Committee Meeting /li>
  • The Scottish Parliament Official Report 23.2.11: Equal Opportunities Committee’s report into migration and trafficking December 2010
  • To request a copy of Amnesty International's reports – ‘Scotland’s Saves’ and  'The Wrong Kind of Victim' please contact Amnesty's Scotland Office /li>

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