Amnesty International Releases Research Suggesting Modern-Day Slave Trade Extends across Scotland
Monday, September 15, 2008 3:12 PM

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, 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 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 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 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.

Published in: Scotland: New Amnesty Research Suggests Modern-Day Slave Trade Extends Across Scotland, Amnesty International U.K, 20 August 2008.