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Lord Advocate chairs human trafficking summit

17 October 2014

A UK-wide summit aimed at tackling human trafficking is being held at the Scottish Parliament, chaired by the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC.

It is also being attended by the heads of the prosecution services in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

They will set out their commitment to work together across boundaries to disrupt the trade.

A report published by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in September found that the number of potential victims of human trafficking in the UK increased by 22 per cent between 2012 and 2013, with 55 cases identified in Scotland.

Across the UK, it is estimated that 2,744 people, including 602 children, were potential victims of trafficking last year.

Almost a third of the victims in Scotland suffered sexual exploitation, while others experienced labour exploitation and criminal exploitation.

The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC, said: "Human trafficking is the slavery of our times. It is a serious violation of human rights and causes lasting harm to its victims. Every year thousands of men, women and children are trafficked across the globe, including within the United Kingdom.

"It is a serious and complex crime which happens in the shadows of our society and it is very difficult for investigators and prosecutors to penetrate that veil.

"Traffickers do not respect borders or jurisdictions. Today we agreed to work together as prosecutors to work across boundaries and rise to the challenges to disrupt this abhorrent trade in human beings and make the United Kingdom hostile to human traffickers."