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New human trafficking bill for Scotland

A dedicated Human Trafficking Bill for Scotland is to be introduced in the current parliamentary session, the Scottish Government announced earlier this week.

Following the Human Trafficking Summit, hosted by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice in October 2012, Scottish Ministers have been working with other agencies to strengthen Scotland’s response to human trafficking.

The current Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, which is currently before the Scottish Parliament, includes provisions for new human trafficking aggravators.

During 2013, Police Scotland, with Scottish Government support, published an awareness raising leaflet to assist public and private sector organisations in spotting the signs of potential human trafficking.

A dedicated Human Trafficking Bill would aim to:

• Consolidate and strengthen existing criminal law against human trafficking.

• Enhance the status of and support for the victims of trafficking.

• Give statutory responsibility to relevant agencies to work with the Scottish Government to develop and implement a Scottish Anti-Trafficking Strategy.

The latest figures for the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre, National Referral Mechanism, indicate that a total of 99 people were referred by agencies in Scotland as potential victims of trafficking in 2013, an increase of 3% compared with the previous year. Of the 99 potential victims, 77 were adults and 22 were children (i.e. aged under 18 at the time of referral).

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