Published: 01 Oct 2015
The Equality & Human Rights Commission in Scotland warmly welcomes the passing of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament. This important legislation comes after the Commission’s groundbreaking 2010 inquiry into the nature and extent of human trafficking in Scotland.
The Inquiry focused on trafficking for the purposes of forced labour, domestic servitude and criminal exploitation, but more explicitly on commercial sexual exploitation, which Investigating Commissioner Baroness Helena Kennedy called ‘the most prevalent and pernicious manifestation of human enslavement’. The findings led to a series of ten recommendations aimed at those with responsibilities to prevent and tackle human trafficking in Scotland.
Alastair Pringle, EHRC Scotland Director said:
The passing of this Bill means that Scotland now has a comprehensive, victim-centred legal framework for tackling human trafficking. Victims’ needs, their safety and their human rights are rightly being prioritised. The recommendations in our inquiry were designed to improve responses to human trafficking, put victims’ needs at the centre of the issue and make Scotland a more hostile environment for traffickers. The Commission is pleased to find our inquiry recommendations have been met by the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill and we look forward to seeing the impact of this legislation in protecting victims and prosecuting traffickers.
For further information, please contact EHRC Scotland Press and Communications Manager, Sarah Thoms on 0141 228 5974 or 07854 193592.
Notes to editors
Recommendations from the Inquiry included:
- Scotland should pioneer a strategic, victim-centred approach to trafficking, focussing on human rights and crime prevention.
- Scotland needs to raise awareness of trafficking issues so that individuals and agencies know what trafficking looks like, where it happens, and what to do about it.
- Agencies must share information more systematically to improve performance on gathering intelligence, successful prosecutions, and supporting victims.
- There is a case for a new Human Trafficking Act, which would address the crime of trafficking directly, and which would enable more prosecutions of traffickers.
- Scotland needs end-to-end services for victims, with practical assistance accessible wherever a victim is found.