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Migration and trafficking in Scotland

Commenting ahead of tomorrow's (Wednesday 23rd February) Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee debate on Migration and Trafficking following the committee's own inquiry last year, John Watson, Programme Director of Amnesty in Scotland, said:

"Whilst we welcome the comprehensive nature of the inquiry and subsequent report by the Scottish Parliament, we have two outstanding concerns - the lack of a clear picture of how traffickers are being tackled and an apparent bias in support for victims of trafficking.
"Whilst there have been over 100 convictions for trafficking offences in England and Wales, there have been none recorded here in Scotland. Prosecution 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 National Referral Mechanism (NRM) by which potentially trafficked people are identified and supported is placing more emphasis on their immigration status than the alleged crime committed against them. We need to ensure that the welfare of the potential victim is the primary concern and any decision as to asylum is suspended until after it has established whether or not that person has been has been the victim of trafficking. Amnesty is urging the Scottish Government to reconsider the Committee's recommendation to create a Scottish NRM which places the welfare of the individual above all else."
Notes to Editors
Read the briefing note for the debate (pdf)
Find out more about Amnesty's campaign on trafficking /div>
The Equal Opportunities Committee published its migration and trafficking inquiry report on Tuesday 14th December 2010, and is available from… /div>
To request a copy of Amnesty International's  report, 'The Wrong Kind of Victim' please contact the Scottish Office on 0131 313 7012.

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