Page last updated at 23:44 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 00:44 UK

Slave trade 'still in operation'

Migrant workers picking celery
Trafficking for agricultural labour was said to be happening in Scotland

A modern-day slave trade is in operation across Scotland, new research has suggested.

Human rights charity Amnesty International said Scotland had 13.5% of the UK's trade in people.

This was despite Scotland having less than 10% of the population.

Amnesty said it used figures from police, councils, voluntary groups and other services to present the most comprehensive picture to date of the problem of human trafficking.

The report, Human Trafficking - Scotland's 21st Century Slaves, said Scottish police raided more than 50 premises, resulting in 35 arrests and 59 people being dealt with as victims of trafficking during its specialist Operation Pentameter 2.

We know many victims of trafficking will never disclose their situation to a police officer because they fear shame, deportation or reprisals
Kate Allen
Amnesty International

Trafficking cases have been found in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Stirling and Tayside.

They involved victims from Lithuania, Slovakia, Nigeria, China, Estonia, Somalia, Thailand, Guinea and Russia.

Amnesty International UK director, Kate Allen, said: "To date, most attention has been given to the plight of women trafficked into the sex trade, but we have also found evidence of trafficking into Scotland for domestic and agricultural labour.

"The case information we have been given also shows there are different methods of trafficking and different routes into Scotland.

"We have come across an example of marriage being used as a mechanism of trafficking women into Scotland for sexual exploitation. And we have seen cases of trafficked persons being recovered at the port of Stranraer."

'Sexual exploitation'

She said Amnesty was concerned victims of trafficking in Scotland were not being properly identified.

"Without acceptance of their status, they cannot access appropriate services or help police with their inquiries," she said.

"The fight against trafficking has been very much police-led in the UK, but we know that many victims of trafficking will never disclose their situation to a police officer because they fear shame, deportation or reprisals from their traffickers."

The report called on the Scottish Government to extend the support provided to women trafficked into sexual exploitation to other forms of trafficking.

It also called on Scots ministers to work with the Crown Office to ensure that trafficking victims were not prosecuted for crimes, such as using false travel documents, committed as part of their ordeal.


SEE ALSO
'Too scared' to run away
19 Aug 08 |  Scotland
'Largest' trafficking crackdown
02 Jul 08 |  Scotland
Sex trafficking gang duo jailed
16 May 08 |  England
'Gangmaster' has licence revoked
07 May 08 |  Tayside and Central
Migrants like 'modern day slaves'
22 Aug 07 |  Tayside and Central
Migrant workers in rights meeting
19 Feb 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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