Scottish ministers have published their draft strategy to tackle human trafficking and exploitaiton in Scotland.
The proposals follow the enactment of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015, which as well as creating new offences of human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour, provided for protection for victims and imposed a duty on ministers to prepare a strategy to further the purposes of the Act.
Developed in partnership with interested groups, the new document seeks to eliminate the problem within Scotland and also to contribute to the UK and wider global efforts to tackle human trafficking and exploitation.
Its three main action areas are:
- identifying victims and supporting them to safety and recovery;
- identifying perpetrators and disrupting their activity; and
- addressing the conditions, local and global, that foster trafficking and exploitation.
Respondents are asked whether these are appropriate and whether the particular actions proposed will help achieve them.
Launching the strategy, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson commented: "The new Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act has already created a new offence of trafficking with a possible maximum life sentence. Today’s draft strategy sets out the approach to address trafficking and exploitation, aimed at exposing and eradicating these crimes.
“We want to support victims to safety and recovery, identify and disrupt perpetrators, and address the conditions, local and global, that foster trafficking and exploitation. In order to do that, cross-border working, including continued support from Europol is absolutely vital.
“I encourage anyone who has encountered such crimes – as a victim or witness or any other interested party – to have their say and help shape our action against these vile criminals. There must be no place to hide for them in Scotland.”
Click here to view the consultation. The deadline for responses is 7 December 2016.