Human trafficking

Trafficking human beings is an appalling abuse of human rights.

We are making sure that it is recognised, recorded and punished, and victims get the help and support they need.


We are implementing our Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy to improve how we identify and support victims, deal with the causes of trafficking and exploitation, and punish perpetrators.

We are also:

We have published the following progress reports: 



Trafficking can involve victims being sexually exploited or forced into the role of a servant, or trapped in forced labour, with nail bars, car washes and construction amongst the industries where potential cases in Scotland have been reported.

Figures from the Home Office Single Competent Authority show there were 387 potential victims of trafficking identified in relation to Scotland in 2020.

For information on the signs of human trafficking or to report concerns visit the Modern Slavery Helpline

Bills and legislation

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act (Scotland) 2015 clarified, strengthened and brought together the existing laws on human trafficking

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 improved support and protection for victims, helped law enforcement target perpetrators and made sure those involved can be punished. The Act covers England and Wales, but some parts apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Duty to notify

From June to September 2019 we ran a public consultation on section 38 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015. Responses have now been published. Read the analysis of responses


We have published human trafficking awareness leaflets and posters in English, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Lithuanian and Vietnamese.

To further raise awareness about the issue, together with COSLA, Police Scotland and human trafficking support providers we have developed a resource which covers the extent of trafficking in Scotland, the impact of trafficking on its victims, and how to find out more or report concerns.

We have also prepared a guidance for health workers about how to recognise and help victims of human trafficking and exploitation.

Archived content

See our archive if you are looking for older content on human trafficking.


If you have any concerns regarding alleged human trafficking or criminal activity in your area, use the following details:

Email the Police Scotland National Human Trafficking Unit:

Modern Slavery Helpline:

In an emergency situation you should always phone 999 or for non-emergencies 101.

The Scottish Government contact details should not be used for the purposes of reporting crime and your email will not be forwarded to law enforcement agencies.

Human Trafficking policy team

Phone: 0131 244 2693

Human Trafficking Team
St Andrew’s House

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