Justice Committee invites views on proposals to tackle human trafficking and exploitation

15.01.2015

The views of people directly affected by trafficking and slavery are invited by the Justice Committee as part of its call for evidence on the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill published today.

The Bill aims to clarify and strengthen criminal law by introducing a new single human trafficking offence as well as increasing the maximum penalty for offenders to life imprisonment.  It would also place duties on Scottish Ministers to ensure immediate support for adult victims and to prepare a trafficking and exploitation strategy. 

Committee Convener Christine Grahame MSP said: 

“Human trafficking and exploitation are serious, complex crimes which know no borders.  It extends well beyond the sex trade and involves the provision of cheap labour for a number of purposes, all of them exploitative.

“As we know, Scotland is not immune to these crimes, but it is clear that there are real difficulties in identifying the perpetrators who need to be brought to justice and the vulnerable victims who are in need of real support and protection. 

“We want to ensure that the legislation being proposed will achieve its aims in preventing and tackling these crimes and in protecting victims.  Will the streamlining of existing laws simplify the legal position and improve detection as intended?  Does the new offence of aggravation deal with those who operate outside the ‘transaction’ process but benefit knowingly from it?  Will the proposed increase in the maximum penalty for the offence be a deterrent?  Will the proposed duty to provide immediate support to victims improve the current situation?   

“That is why we want to hear from as broad a range of people as possible, including support agencies, victims’ groups, local authorities, prosecutors, businesses and individuals ”  

Background

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill was published on 12 December.  More information on the Bill can be found here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/84356.aspx 

The Committee’s call for evidence is open until 24 February 2015. 

More information on submitting evidence to the Committee can be found on the Committee’s webpage:

tp://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/29845.aspx

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