Breakdown of charges under Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1) For each year between and including 2015 and 2019 and the end of the latest quarter of 2020, how many cases involving a charge under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 or Modern Slavery Act 2015 were brought to court?

2) For each of these cases, please provide an outcome. This can include but not be limited to: successful conviction, not guilty, not proven, acquittal, case dropped, case ongoing.

2a) For those convicted, please detail whether they were given immediate custodial sentences?

2b) For those given an immediate custodial sentence, how long was the sentence in months for each conviction?

3) For each case, please provide, if possible, the location of the offence (this can be limited to council area only) and the industry (such as hospitality, food and drink, construction etc) in which the offence was discovered to be taking place.


The Scottish Government Criminal Proceedings database is not a live system and the latest available information we have is for the financial year 2018-19. The information held is not based on numbers of cases but on the number of people and offences dealt with by the Scottish Criminal Justice System where proceedings have concluded. Disposal information is based on the main charge in proceedings. We do not hold information on the location of where an offence occurred or type of industry.

In answer to your questions, our database shows there were no prosecutions in Scotland for any offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 between 2014-15 and 2018-19.

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 came into force on 31 May 2016 and there have been a total of 5 offences prosecuted since then up to and including 2018-19. Two of them were in 2017-18 and three in 2018-19. The prosecutions in 2017-18 both resulted in convictions but as offences in the Act were not the main charge in the case(s) we cannot advise of the disposals issued to them. The other 3 offences were main charges and further information is provided in the following table:

People prosecuted under Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015, where main charge, by result and court location, 2018-19

Main charge Result/Disposal Financial year 2018-19
Total prosecuted    1 2 3
SECTION 1(1) Guilty - Community Payback
1 - 1
SECTION 4(1)(B) Acquitted not guilty - 2 2

Source: Scottish Government Criminal Proceedings database

Other types of crimes may be aggravated by a connection to human trafficking under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015. Our records show that eight people were prosecuted in 2018-19 where a relevant aggravator was recorded, four of which were acquitted not guilty and the remaining four people convicted and received custodial sentences of four years each.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.

Information for 2019-20 will not be available until publication of the Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2019-20 Statistical Bulletin. This is expected to be published in the spring of 2021. The dates of all Scottish Government Official and National Statistics publications are pre-announced, and the up to date list of future publications can be found at:

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.

However, you may wish to contact the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service at who may be able to help you with more recent data.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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