The SNP Scottish Government has taken a welcome lead on modern slavery, passing the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill in the last Parliamentary term, strengthening the rights of victims of trafficking, and by developing Scotland’s first strategy to tackle this disgraceful practice.
We know that legislation alone will not stop trafficking. That’s why the Scottish Government is developing Scotland’s first Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy.
Indeed, the 2015 Act of the Scottish Parliament has been viewed as superior to the Act in England and Wales as it places a duty on Scottish ministers to provide assistance to victims of Modern Slavery. The UK Government are currently undertaking a review of the 2015 Act but this will not tackle head on the support framework.
The Scottish Government takes the issue of Modern Slavery very seriously and there are widespread public awareness campaigns. The Government ran a TV and online campaign in 2017 and the Police Scotland ran a social media campaign last year.
The Scottish Government and Police Scotland continue to run training and awareness raising campaigns for the public sector alongside public sector partners including the Coalition of Scottish Local Authorities, NHS Scotland, TARA (Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance). The first progress report under the national Trafficking and Exploitation strategy reported last year and the next annual report is due in a few weeks’ time.
Scotland can still face barriers to their recovery presented by UK immigration rules which the Scottish Parliament does not have powers to address.
We support the aims of the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill which introduces leave to remain in the UK so all victims can receive that support for a period of 12 months following the final decision recognising them as a victim.