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Prosecutors tackling human trafficking, Angiolini insists

5 October 2010

Scotland's Lord Advocate has defended the prosecution service's efforts to tackle human trafficking following criticism that no one has been convicted for the crime.

Elish Angiolini QC, while acknowledging the low number of prosecutions, said prosecutors had successfully disrupted trafficking in a "variety of ways".

Her comments came in response to questions from MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee, who are investigating the issue.

Ms Angiolini conceded that only one case had gone to trial at the High Court, but said it did not mean that there had been no significant activity in relation to human trafficking in Scotland.

"Not necessarily under the two statutes, but in relation to immoral earnings, keeping brothels – a variety of different offences which we have deployed against the background of human trafficking where we have not got sufficient evidence of trafficking. I think it's very important that's understood."

She said awareness of the issues was being raised, and added: "We know it's a growth industry – 12.3 million people across the globe are being trafficked for a variety of purposes, not only sexual.

"We know that 3% of those involved in serious organised crime in this country, in Scotland, are involved in human trafficking."

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