Human trafficking involves recruiting, transporting or holding a person by use of threats, coercion or deception in order to exploit them. Essentially, it is the oppression and abuse of people motivated by financial or personal gain. It is often described as a form of modern day slavery.
Victims of trafficking are often tricked into coming to the UK by false promises or because of threats against them or their family. In Scotland the most common forms of human trafficking are for labour exploitation and sexual exploitation purposes. Labour exploitation occurs in industries such as agriculture, fish processing and the restaurant trade. Sexual exploitation occurs in prostitution, saunas, strip clubs etc.
Human trafficking denies people their God given dignity, future and hope. God calls on His Church to seek justice for those who are exploited.
CARE for Scotland has been at the forefront of campaigning for a new law on human trafficking in Scotland. We were delighted that the Scottish Parliament passed the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act in 2015. This legislation provides a good basis for tackling the problem of human trafficking, particularly where organised crime is involved.
It is important that MSPs continue to prioritise the fight against human trafficking and that the Human Trafficking and Expolitation (Scotland) Act is fully implemented. The Act requires the Scottish Government to draft a national strategy to combat human trafficking and to present this to the Scottish Parliament. The Government is currently consulting with stakeholders as a precursor to drafting the strategy with a view to presenting the final version to the Scottish Parliament towards the end of 2016. CARE for Scotland is concerned to ensure that the Scottish Government makes sufficient resources available in order to allow Police Scotland and Crown Office to tackle this despicable crime and for local authorities and other agencies to give effective support to the victims of trafficking.
CARE is supportive also of a duty being placed on public authorities to take steps to ensure that their procurement supply chains do not use labour which has been trafficked.
Staff of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) who are located in England and Wales have the power to arrest people suspected of labour trafficking offences. This is not the case in Scotland. The UK Government is proposing to extend the GLAs powers in England and Wales by enabling its staff to enter and search premises and to search suspects. CARE for Scotland believes that the Scottish Government should give GLA staff located in Scotland the same powers as their colleagues will have in England and Wales.
Questions for Candidates
- Will you promise to press the Scottish Government, Police Scotland and the Crown Office to continue to prioritise addressing the problem of human trafficking and to increase the resources which are available to counter this despicable crime?
- Do you support giving the staff of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority in Scotland “policing powers” commensurate with those the GLA officers have in England and Wales?
- Would you support legislation to require Scottish public bodies to ensure that their procurement supply chains do not include labour exploitation?