Our Scottish Anti-Trafficking & Exploitation Centre provides legal advice and representation to child and adult survivors of trafficking and exploitation, as well as serving as a hub for outreach, policy, training and research. Led by our Director, Kirsty Thomson, the centre uses our team’s expertise to contribute to the fight against trafficking and exploitation at both the national and international level.
Training, Research and Policy
Our Director, Kirsty Thomson, has worked in the field of human trafficking and exploitation for a period of 11 years. In that time, she has been involved as an expert on the Equalities and Human Rights Inquiry into Human Trafficking in Scotland as well as the Scottish Children’s Commissioner for Children and Young People’s report into Child Trafficking in Scotland. She has participated in consultations with the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament around the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 and is a member of the Cross Party Group on Human Trafficking in Scotland.
Kirsty has also written a chapter in the book, Human Trafficking: The Complexities of Exploitation (Margaret Malloch and Paul Rigby, 2016), contributed to the drafting of best practice standards in an EU funded project in the area of Early Legal Intervention for survivors of human trafficking, and been invited as an expert to train and speak throughout Europe.
Recently, she has spoken at Police Scotland’s first national conference on human trafficking and she spoke on an expert panel for the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) consultation on its draft recommendations to facilitate the gender-specific implementation of particular provisions of the Anti-Trafficking Directive Consultation-meeting-trafficking-human-beings. She also attended a high-level expert meeting at the OSCE in Warsaw to discuss the update of the OSCE handbook on National Referral Mechanisms – Joining Efforts to Protect the Rights of Trafficked Persons.
The Scottish Anti-Trafficking and Exploitation Centre provides free legal information, advice and representation to individuals affected by trafficking in Scotland. The staff of JRS are viewed as legal experts in anti-trafficking and exploitation work at both a national and international level.
The centre is part of various parliamentary and government working groups. It is a member of the UK Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group (see below) which is the UK NGO shadow monitoring mechanism for human trafficking, as well as being a member of a current expert international advisory group with the OSCE on human trafficking. The centre has been, and continues to be involved in various training, policy and research activities at a national and international level.
We provide legal services which are gender and child sensitive, human rights based and trauma informed to individuals affected by trafficking and exploitation. We do so in a range of civil law matters related to an individual’s experience and recovery including, but not limited to, identification, immigration, family reunion and compensation. We have a specific expertise of working with third country national women and children affected by exploitation.
The centre currently receives funds from the Legal Education Foundation, the European Union and Scottish Government.
ASSIST: Gender Specific Legal Assistance and Integration Support for Third Country National Female Victims of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation
The centre is part of a new innovative anti-trafficking project to assist trafficked migrant women funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (EC AMIF: 821581).
The project focuses on the integration of trafficked women recovering from sexual exploitation. This initiative takes into account the gender dimension of trafficking in Europe and the gender specific harms and trauma associated with trafficking for sexual exploitation.
The aim of the project is to provide a number of trafficked migrant women with legal advice, information and support in accessing material assistance (social and financial). Such assistance is particularly important in cases involving sexual exploitation. It is acknowledged in such cases victims often experience a significant trauma and lack the life skills, training or experience required to quickly integrate into the job market and thus provide for them or any dependents.
We are thrilled to partner on this exciting new two year project with the lead partner, Immigrant Council of Ireland and our co-partners SOLWODI Germany, BeFree Italy, SURT Spain and the European Network of Migrant Women.
Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group
In October 2018 we joined the Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group (ATMG). The ATMG is a coalition established in 2009 to monitor the UK’s implementation of European anti-trafficking legislation. The group uses a human rights-based approach to examine all types of human trafficking, including internal trafficking and the trafficking of British nationals, to protect the well-being and best interests of victims of human trafficking.
We are joining as the 14th member of a group of leading UK-based anti-trafficking organisations, including AFRUCA, Amnesty International UK, Anti-Slavery International, Ashiana Sheffield, Bawso, ECPAT UK, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), Helen Bamber Foundation, Kalayaan, Law Centre (NI), the Snowdrop Project, the TARA service, UNICEF UK.
Through our membership, we look forward to contributing to policy and research to improve the anti-slavery response of the UK Government. We are committed to the ethos of the ATMG, particularly its function in identifying and implementing greater collaboration between members and other stakeholders to improve shadow monitoring of the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and the EU Directive (2011/36/EU) on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims.
Read the ATMG’s most recent report here:‘Before the Harm is Done’ (September 2018).
We have established a collaboration with our partners at the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) to provide a free Legal Information and Advice Hub to female survivors of trafficking for sexual exploitation within TARA service premises.
JustRight@TARA provides legal information and advice in the following areas:-
- Identification of human trafficking/National Referral Mechanism (where there is no other lawyer providing this advice)
- Engagement with criminal justice process
- Immigration advice (where there is no other lawyer providing this advice)
- Access to safe housing, support and other entitlements
- Advice regarding other legal processes that may be relevant such as child protection, family law, family reunion etc.
At the moment, this service is only available internally to TARA service users. It is hoped the Hub will raise awareness and knowledge of the rights of trafficked women in Scotland who can face multiple barriers to accessing justice and be expanded to other survivors and parts of Scotland going forward.
The service is currently supported by JRS and TARA with funds provided by the Scottish Government.