Human trafficking

Policy actions  3 of 3

Punishment and prevention of trafficking

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 which is being brought into effect in stages:

  • has introduced a single offence for all kinds of trafficking for the first time
  • raised the maximum penalty for trafficking to life imprisonment
  • is giving police and prosecutors new tools to prevent and detect trafficking and bring those responsible to justice

Trafficking and exploitation court orders

Two court orders are now available to allow police, prosecutors and courts to disrupt trafficking and exploitation.

Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Orders (TEPOs)

Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention Orders can be used by the courts to impose restrictions on people who have been convicted of trafficking and exploitation offences.

TEPOs can introduce a range of restrictions like stopping someone employing staff, working with children/vulnerable people or travelling to certain countries for five years.

TEPOs came into force in June 2017, and have a fixed period of at least five years.

Trafficking and Exploitation Risk Orders (TEROs)

Police can apply to courts for a Trafficking and Exploitation Risk Order when there is strong suspicion there is a risk someone may commit a trafficking or exploitation offence. This means the suspect is effectively banned from a range of activity with potential restrictions on movement within the UK or on internet use.

TEROs came into force in October 2017, and have a fixed period of at least two years.

The power to make orders is at the discretion of the courts which will assess the proportionality of orders in each case.

A breach of either order is a criminal offence.

Seizure of assets

The 2015 Act provided police with powers to seize the property, such as cars and boats, of anyone arrested for a trafficking offence. This power can be exercised pending investigation and court proceedings.

You can find more information in the guide to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act.

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