News

Increased funding to support victims of human trafficking

Published: 29 May 2020 09:13

£1.5 million to help services across Scotland.

Increased funding of £1.5 million has been announced for support services working with victims of human trafficking.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf made the announcement as the annual progress report and statutory review of Scotland’s Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy was published.

The Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) has been awarded £581,252 while Migrant Help will receive £922,065.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has also been awarded £120,000 to continue providing a national psychological trauma support service to adult trafficking victims at The Anchor.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“Victims of human trafficking are some of the most vulnerable adults and children in society, and are targeted by organised criminals who prey upon their vulnerabilities. This Scottish Government funding will help our partners support those who have fallen into the hands of unscrupulous individuals.

“Since Scotland’s first Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy was launched in 2017, this dreadful crime has been identified in every area of Scotland. Trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight – including nail bars, car washes, take-away restaurants or hotels. While victims may not be restrained physically, the sad reality is that often all key aspects of their life are controlled by others, and the psychological impact of this crime can mean victims do not self-identify or may be too afraid to seek help.

“It is simply not acceptable that in 21st century Scotland people are being bought, sold and treated as commodities. Following the review of the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy, we will develop a revised strategy in collaboration as we continue to work relentlessly with police and other partners to tackle those behind this abhorrent trade.”

Stephen Newton, Regional Trafficking Services Manager (Scotland), Migrant Help, said: “We greatly welcome the increased Scottish Government funding.  Last year saw a record increase in the number of trafficking victims referred to our service.  The increased funding means we have been able to recruit additional staff, allowing us to maintain service provision to our expanding base of clients.  We plan to use some of the additional funding to increase our office and accommodation space when public health advice allows. The grant funding will enable Migrant Help to continue and increase access to various projects supported through the grant.”

Bronagh Andrew, of TARA, said: “We are delighted with the increase in funding to our vital service.  It has enabled us to increase our accommodation provision and allow us to support even more women who have experienced trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.  Women have told us that this support needs to be ongoing and that they value the assistance they receive.

“The additional resilience which this funding has given us means we can provide comprehensive support to more women and continue to raise awareness of the exploitation of women across Scotland.”

Between 2013 and 2019, the number of potential trafficking victims identified per year in Scotland rose from 99 to 512.  Referrals to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) increased by 125% between 2018 (228) and 2019 (512).

The annual progress report and strategy review highlights a range of activities taken forward by the Scottish Government and partners over the last year and reflects on the progress implementing the strategy since its publication in 2017. Key achievements include strengthening and increasing victims’ entitlement to assistance and support, the development of guidance for businesses, health workers and local authorities, the publication of age assessment guidance and production of various awareness-raising resources in different languages.

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