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Landlords and letting agents are being urged to watch out for trafficked tenants

07 August 2015 | tagged Current issues

Police Scotland is calling on landlords and letting agents to help tackle human trafficking in Scotland by being aware and alert to the problem.

Solicitors working in the property market are also being asked to be aware of the issue.

If you suspect premises may be being used for this purpose, you can prevent this form of abuse by contacting the police and protecting the vulnerable from organised crime.

Victims are often, but not always, trafficked from a foreign country. They may not speak English, their travel and identity documents will have been taken and they are threatened with violence if they plan or attempt to escape. Identity documents may be forged. Police Scotland can provide free ‘Document Awareness’ inputs to Landlords and Letting Agents to help identify false documents where required.  

Key considerations for landlords and letting agents may include:

  •  Do you know who is residing in your premises?
  • Is the occupant the same person that completed the tenancy agreement?
  • Do the occupants change on a regular basis?
  • Are the premises suitable and appropriate for the number of occupants?
  • Is the occupant in possession of their own passport, identification or travel documents?
  • Is the occupant able to communicate on their own behalf?
  • Does the occupant act as if they were instructed or coached by someone else?
  • Is the occupant responsible for paying for their own tenancy?
  • If not, who is responsible for paying for the tenancy?
  • Does the occupant have freedom of movement?
  • Does the occupant appear withdrawn or frightened?
  • Is there evidence of the premises being used for prostitution?
  • Are you aware of anti-social complaints?

Trafficking and exploitation is happening in Scotland and affects men, women and children on a daily basis.  Every one of those people lives or is forced to work somewhere and very often those premises are rented.

Whilst there is no typical victim of trafficking very often people don’t see themselves as trafficked or understand that they are being exploited and are entitled to help and support. 

Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Gilfillan of Police Scotland’s Human Trafficking Unit said: “Landlords and letting agencies have an important role to play in helping Police Scotland and its partners tackle human trafficking. We are asking them to be responsible by making sure they know who is renting their premises. This awareness will help us make Scotland a hostile environment for traffickers to operate in and put an end to modern day slavery.”

What should I do if I suspect someone is being trafficked?

If you think someone is in immediate danger call 999.

Contact Police Scotland, National Human Trafficking Unit by calling 101 or email  

Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700

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