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MSP seeks to bring in Human Trafficking Bill

17 September 2013

A Labour MSP has opened a consultation on a proposed Human Trafficking (Scotland) Bill which she hope will result in a more co-ordinated approach to tackling the evil.

Jeny Marra, Labour member for North-East Scotland, claims her measure will "crystallise in legislation" the consensus she says has emerged among experts in Scotland on what action should be taken to prevent and tackle human trafficking.

Her measure would have five objectives:

  • to place a duty on Scottish ministers to develop and implement a strategy for Scotland against human trafficking, potentially including tackilng the human vulnerability that underlies the problem, a new single criminal ofence, and a systematic approach to raising awareness;
  • to adopt a comprehensive approach to the criminalisation of human trafficking through an associated offence of aiding and abetting, clearer liability of legal persons, and a new sanctions regime, while providing for non-prosecution and non-penalisation of victims of human trafficking;
  • to require a specialist, integrated and comprehensive criminal justice response to human trafficking, covering investigation, prosecution and asset recovery;
  • to promote a co-ordinated reguatory approach involving Scottish ministers and regulators, covering awareness raising, identification and detection, and systematic co-operation;
  • to ensure an independent and transparent system in Scotland that is dedicated to identification of, decisions on, and coordinated assistance and remedies for survivors, to secure both their recovery and access to legal justice.

"Every four days a victim of human trafficking is identified in our communities and rescued from one of the most searing human rights abuses to exist in Scotland today", Ms Marra says in the foreword to her consultation.

"Our obligation to do all we can to prevent trafficked exploitation is clear. Since 2008, when Amnesty International published its pioneering report into human trafficking in Scotland, a series of expert reports and inquiries have assessed our anti-trafficking response, and recommended ways to stop traffickers and protect their victims. With a new EU directive and a growing body of European case law, we have a clearer picture than ever before of how to make Scotland a no-go
destination for traffickers."

Click here to access the consultation. The closing date for responses is 6 December 2013.


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