Modern slavery reported in Scotland

Modern slavery web

Around 300 potential victims - including children - have been reported by a charity which operates a slavery helpline

14th June 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has uncovered scores of cases of modern slavery in Scotland.

Unseen has recorded 82 incidents of human trafficking and exploitation over the last 18 months, involving 297 potential victims.

A total of 172 calls and 34 online reports were made to the modern slavery helpline relating to situations in Scotland between its launch in October 2016 and the end of March 2018.

Labour exploitation was the most common type of complaint registered, with 60.9% of calls or contacts in relation to workplaces such as car washes and nail bars.

Almost a fifth (17%) of cases related to sexual exploitation and one in 10 of the potential victims were children (34 individuals), with street exploitation the most common sector where they were exploited.

Unseen chief executive Andrew Wallis said: "With cases in 19 out of 33 Scottish counties, this report underlines the fact that slavery is all around us.

"It's at the car wash, the nail bar, the takeaway and the hotel, as well as the farms that grow our food.

"It's not a problem taking place far away that we can't do anything about, it's under our noses and we can arm ourselves by learning to spot the signs of slavery and report it to the helpline. Your call could mean somebody's freedom."

The helpline made 78 referrals on cases of human trafficking and exploitation including 63 referrals to Police Scotland and 13 to local authorities.

Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: "Through the publication of Scotland's first Trafficking Strategy and implementation of the 2015 Trafficking Act, we are working with partners to raise awareness and improve our response to this terrible crime and are taking forward work to further support victims and crack down on perpetrators.

"Last year saw a 38% increase in trafficking referrals from Scotland, with the largest increase in labour exploitation.

"This suggests that we are getting better at identifying and reporting victims of trafficking, and ensuring they receive the help and support they need."