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Human trafficking in Scotland - today's Scottish Government debate

Commenting ahead of today's Scottish Government debate on Human Trafficking, Shabnum Mustapha, Programme Director of Amnesty in Scotland, said:

"Whilst we welcome the Scottish Government debate on Human Trafficking it feels like we have been here too many times before. Trafficking is a heinous crime which tramples human rights and human dignity, and whilst there has been much debate and investigation, there has been little action to tackle this vile practice in Scotland.”

"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. We need the government to change the way it currently holds and produces prosecution figures, which encompass the range of offences under which traffickers are currently prosecuted.

‘The Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee’s own report into Trafficking and Migration, published last year, also recommended that a Scottish referral mechanism be set up which places the welfare of the potentially trafficked individual above all else.

“We would urge the Scottish Government to lead the way in tackling this form of modern-day slavery and adopt the Committee’s recommendation to establish a Scottish National Referral Mechanism. 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.


  • Briefing: Amnesty Scotland's overview of today's Human Trafficking debate (PDF)
  • In October 2011, two sex traffickers were jailed for a total of almost five years in Scotland's first successful prosecution under new UK anti-trafficking laws.
  • 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 Amnesty International is a part of, 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.
  • Read the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee’s Report 23.2.11: Inquiry into Migration and Trafficking (2010)
  • To request a copy of Amnesty International's reports ‘Scotland’s Saves’ and 'The Wrong Kind of Victim' please contact Amnesty International Scotland /li>

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