The Commission undertook to inquire into the nature and extent of human trafficking in Scotland focusing mainly, but not exclusively, on trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Other main purposes such as forced labour, domestic servitude and criminal exploitation were also investigated.

The evidence submitted during the course of this Inquiry shone a light upon the story of human trafficking in Scotland.  The experiences of people who had been deceived, manipulated or coerced into coming to Scotland demonstrate the harsh reality of trafficking. Those who were trafficked were being exploited by organised criminals in the sex industry, often held captive in private ‘sex’ flats and systematically abused; forced into criminal acts such as benefits fraud or cannabis cultivation; exploited in fruit picking farms or the hospitality industry; or forced into conditions akin to slavery as domestic servants.  The experiences of those who are trafficked here are often nothing short of brutal and, in the main, hidden from society.

Whilst the Inquiry did uncover evidence of much good work at all levels in government, enforcement, prosecution, and, vitally, victim support, the lack of a coherent approach was evident. The recommendations in this report are designed to help develop and inform a response which is both strategic and comprehensive. It should be led by the Scottish Government and involve the UK Government and its agencies, alongside law enforcement and prosecution services, victim support organisations, local authorities and the private sector. It must put trafficked people at its centre, seeing them as victims of crime rather than as immigration issues. Such an approach is fundamental if human trafficking is to be tackled, and to make Scotland a more hostile environment for traffickers.

Download: Full report (pdf)

Download: Executive summary (pdf) 

The Inquiry’s Investigating Commissioner, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, explains what the Inquiry learned, and what needs to be done:

Inquiry into Human Trafficking in Scotland

View a transcript of Baroness Kennedy's introduction video.

Last updated: 14 Apr 2016