The Justice Committee has today supported the general principles of a Bill that aims to strengthen the criminal law against human trafficking and exploitation as well as ensuring that victims have access to appropriate support immediately.
The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill was introduced in Scottish Parliament on 11 December 2014 in its Stage 1 report published today, the Justice Committee, in welcoming the aims of the Bill, has made a number of recommendations aimed at improving certain aspects of the Bill as it continues its Parliamentary passage.
Committee Convener Christine Grahame MSP said:
“Human trafficking and exploitation are serious, complex crimes which know no borders. We welcome the Scottish Government’s efforts to tackle this illicit trade, to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators and to support the victims. The victims of trafficking are not only those who are trafficked in to this country, it is also a real problem within and between our towns and cities.
“While we very much support the aims of the Bill, we have made a number of recommendations aimed at clarifying the single offence of trafficking, strengthening the protection provided to victims, and setting out more clearly what support will be available, particularly for child victims.
“In addition, while the issue of criminalising the purchase of sex came up in our evidence sessions, the Committee is clear that, notwithstanding the arguments around that area, this particular Bill is not an appropriate vehicle for addressing that important issue.”
A copy of the report is available at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/81842.aspx
More information on the work of the Justice Committee is available at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/29845.aspx