By Eilidh Turnbull – JustRight Intern
On 27th August 2017 the Scottish Government launched a public information campaign to help raise awareness of human trafficking in Scotland. At JustRight Scotland, our team of lawyers have been working with survivors of trafficking and exploitation for over 10 years and we support this campaign.
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of humans, often for the purposes of forced labour, slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation. Individuals can be trafficked within their own country, but there is often an international element where people are taken abroad to be exploited. Human trafficking is a crime and an abuse of human rights and can have long lasting effects on the survivor. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are survivors of forced labour, alone, globally. Almost a third of worldwide survivors of trafficking are children.
Trafficking in Scotland
Trafficking in persons may seem like a thing that happens elsewhere, however, almost every country in the world is affected by human trafficking. Scotland is no exception, as our team can testify to
Our team have worked with survivors of human trafficking throughout Scotland with the nature of the exploitation varying. We therefore support the recent data mapping the prevalence of human trafficking which found that it has occurred in 27 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities. We also support the data that human trafficking is not just an issue within Scotland’s large cities, with places as varied and remote as Orkney, Annan and Elgin being identified as “human trafficking hotspots”. Human trafficking survivors in the UK have been found working in car washes, brothels, cannabis farms, as domestic slaves and in construction. The full number of survivors in the UK is unknown but could potentially be in the tens of thousands, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).
As part of their campaign the Scottish Government have produced a short video, alongside our partners the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) to raise awareness of trafficking in Scotland, highlighting some of the things all of us can look out for.
People who are survivors of trafficking can often be unable to return to their country of origin due to the risk of re-trafficking, and are therefore in need of international protection. At JustRight Scotland we work with survivors of trafficking in our JustRight for Refugee Women and JustRight for Refugee Children projects, and we are working to develop a Scottish Anti-Trafficking Legal Project.
If you have concerns that human trafficking is happening in your area, contact the helpline on 08000 121 700.