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Police target human traffickers

3 October 07 12:25 GMT

Police forces across Scotland have joined a crackdown on human trafficking covering the UK and Irish Republic.

The operation has been targeted at gangs who force women and children to work in the sex industry.

Scottish police forces said they would play a full part in the nationwide project, codenamed Pentameter 2.

They said it would involve a series of intelligence-led activities and ensure victims receive proper care. Scottish ministers have backed the initiative.

Assistant Chief Constable John Malcolm of Strathclyde Police has been appointed to lead the operation on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos).

He said: "The trafficking of human beings is a form of slavery and will not be tolerated in a civilised modern society.

"Many people suffer abuse at the hands of those who have brought them to this country and are forced to engage in the sex industry to pay for food and shelter.

"The police service in Scotland will be working with a range of partners in the coming months to ensure not only that the traffickers are traced and dealt with but also that their innocent victims are released and given care and support."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said that the Scottish Government supported the action and described human trafficking as a "heinous crime".

He said: "This operation will assist our wider efforts to ensure that Scotland is a hostile environment for human traffickers and will send out a clear message that we, as a society, will not tolerate this modern-day slavery.

"The operation is not only about bringing traffickers to justice but about protecting and supporting the victims of trafficking.

"The police have emphasised from the outset that this is a victim-centred operation and it is important that the needs of those who have been abused and exploited at the hands of the traffickers are not neglected."

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