Scotland: New Amnesty research suggests modern-day slave trade extends across Scotland

New research published today (20 August) suggests that people trafficking - the modern-day equivalent of the slave trade - is occurring around Scotland.

The "Scotland's Slaves" briefing paper, launched today by Amnesty International, The brings information from the police, local authorities, support services and voluntary organisations for the first time and presents the most comprehensive picture to date of the extent of people trafficking in Scotland.

"Scotland's Slaves" will be launched by Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen at an event in the Scottish Parliament, as part of the 2008 Festival of Politics. Findings include:

· During “Operation Pentameter 2”, Scottish police forces raided over 50 premises in Scotland: 59 people were dealt with as victims of trafficking and 35 suspects were arrested
· The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) estimate that Scotland has 13.5% of the UK's trade in human beings (despite having less than 10% of the population)
· Cases of trafficking have been found in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Stirling and Tayside
· Victims from Lithuania, Slovakia, Nigeria, China, Estonia, Somalia, Thailand, Guinea and Russia have been found in Scotland

Launching the report, Kate Allen said:

"To date most attention has been given to the plight of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights trafficked into the sex trade, but we have also found evidence of trafficking into Scotland for domestic and agricultural labour.

"The case information we have been given also shows that there are different methods of trafficking and different routes into Scotland. We have come across an example of marriage being used as a mechanism of trafficking Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights into Scotland for sexual exploitation. And we have seen cases of trafficked persons being recovered at the port of Stranraer.

"Amnesty is concerned that victims of trafficking in Scotland are not being properly identified and without acceptance of their status they cannot access appropriate services or help police with their enquiries. The fight against trafficking has been very much police-led in the UK but we know that many victims of trafficking will never disclose their situation to a police officer because they fear shame, deportation or reprisals from their traffickers.

"This is why Amnesty recommends a multi-agency approach to identification and the care and treatment of trafficked persons. Scotland is in a particularly good position to apply this approach and the Scottish Government has an opportunity before the ratification of the European Convention Against Trafficking, to take a lead on implementing the Convention to the highest standard."

The Amnesty report makes a series of recommendations to the Scottish Government, including that support provided to Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights trafficked into sexual exploitation should be extended to the victims of other forms of trafficking and that the Scottish Government should work with the Crown Office to ensure that trafficking victims are not prosecuted for crimes (such as using false travel documents) committed as part of their ordeals.

Ends

Further information: John Watson 0131 313 7012, 07818 453070 john.watson@amnesty.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

The Scotland’s Slaves report will be available from Wednesday morning at www.amnesty.org.uk/scotland

The research will be launched at the Festival of Politics event “Human Trafficking - Scotland's 21st Century Slaves” at 12.30pm on Wednesday 20th August in the Scottish Parliament - http://www.festivalofpolitics.org.uk/day1.htm The event is a collaboration between the Parliament’s Cross Party Groups on Human Rights and on Refugees and Asylum Seekers. The event will be chaired by Hugh O’Donnell MSP and the other speakers will be Ann Hamilton of the TARA support project in Glasgow and John Wilkes of the Scottish Refugee Council.

3) The following case studies are taken from the report:

Case Study: Mai-Pia
Mai-Pia was from Thailand. She was working in a café when she met a Scottish man who was there on holiday and they started a relationship. Before he left Thailand he told Mai-Pia that he would marry her and bring her back to the UK. She was brought back to Edinburgh through the appropriate immigration channels, they married soon afterwards and at the beginning everything was fine.

Soon however, her husband became physically and sexually abusive towards her, often forced her to have sex, was physically violent and did not let her leave the house unaccompanied. One night her husband brought a few of his friends home, he told Mai-Pia that she had to have sex with them in order to earn her keep and he must not be made to look stupid in front of them. This became a regular occurrence; Mai-Pia was often forced to have sex with a number of different men a night. This took place in their home and she was expected to clean up the mess before she went to bed.

Case Study: Anna
When she was 12 years old Anna’s parents died and she and her younger siblings were looked after by her grandmother in a village in Nigeria. She went to work for a family her grandmother trusted as a domestic where she was sexually abused by the father of the family. He told her that if anyone found out, her grandmother would die of shame and that he would kill her and her siblings.

At the age of 15, Anna ran away and too ashamed to go home she had to prostitute to survive. She ended up working in a restaurant that had rooms in the back where men would pay to have sex with the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. Anna had to take part in a ritual oath to make her more attractive to men and which bound her to the brothel. She was told that if she ran away or told anyone she would be killed. Anna was often violently abused by the men who paid for sex. It was here that Anna was introduced to an English man who told her that he could get her away from the city but it would cost a lot of money. Anna was told that she would pay his back through prostitution but that where she was going she would make much more money and the debt would be paid back quickly. Because Anna was very frightened and desperate she agreed to go.

Anna’s travel documents were arranged and they flew together to the UK. Once through passport control the man who had arranged her travel took her documentation. It was only now that Anna found out she was in the UK. From London they took a bus to Glasgow where Anna was taken to a flat where there were other Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights. Anna was told that she still owed a lot of money and was immediately made to prostitute, along with the other Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.

Anna says many men came to the flat at different times during the day and night. She and the other Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights were allowed out to the shops but they were all too scared to run away as they have no passports, no money and have been told that as they are prostitutes and here illegally the police and will have them deported. When Anna did finally escape, she was picked up by police and questioned by immigration officials. As she had no travel documentation and was in the country illegally, she was detained in Dungavel detention centre until granted bail.

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