Slavery and human trafficking statement

Our slavery and human trafficking statement outlines the strategies and actions we have taken to identify, prevent and mitigate slavery and human trafficking in our own operations and supply chains.

4. Policies in relation to Slavery and Human Trafficking

4.1 Recruitment

We were the first Government in the UK to become an accredited real Living Wage employer in 2015 and contracted staff working in our buildings, such as cleaning and catering, receive at least the real Living Wage, which is currently £10.90 per hour.

As an employer, the Scottish Government has shown leadership in adopting fairer working practices which will look to reduce the risk of labour exploitation. This includes:

  • Becoming the first national government in the UK to be Living Wage accredited;
  • Promoting the payment of the real Living Wage to those working on government contracts;
  • Offering pay parity for agency employees from the outset of their assignment (pay parity is a requirement from week 13 of an assignment under the Agency Worker Regulations); and
  • Adopting a policy of not using zero hours contracts (that is, contracts which compel staff to make themselves available for work offered);

We have also developed a Fair Work Agreement between Scottish Ministers and the recognised Civil Service trade unions. This Agreement sets out a range of principles on the conduct of employee and industrial relations in line with the principles of the Fair Work Convention's Framework. The Agreement demonstrates commitment to ensuring that bodies in the Scottish Administration are Fair Work employers and are committed to continually striving to improve policies and practices in that regard. This can best be achieved in partnership with trade unions.

4.2 Victim Centred Approach Fund (VCAF)

The Victim-Centred Approach Fund (VCAF) is a Scottish Government funding programme launched in March 2022. The fund is part of the Scottish Government's overall approach to put victims' rights at the heart of justice and improve the advice, information and support that is available to them. The VCAF, which will be worth more than £48 million over the period 2022-2025, replaced previously separate Scottish Government funding programmes which provided grants to victim's organisations, human trafficking support organisations and groups providing criminal justice advocacy for survivors of gender based violence.

The VCAF includes significantly increased funding for organisations supporting victims of human trafficking and exploitation in Scotland. Over three years (2022-25) the organisations Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) and Migrant Help will share over £7.45 million to provide support and assistance to adult victims of trafficking and exploitation. In addition, we are also providing £480k to Justice and Care to support two Victim Navigators to work alongside Police Scotland's National Human Trafficking Unit, £130k to JustRight Scotland to support the work of a Scottish Anti-Trafficking Centre, including early legal advice to potential victims, and £329k to Survivors of Human Trafficking in Scotland to provide longer-term support to those recovering from this horrific crime. We are also providing £817k to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to provide a psychological trauma support service to adult trafficking victims.

4.3 Duty to Notify

Section 38 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act allows for the collation and processing of wider information about trafficking activity in Scotland not currently collected through the National Referral Mechanism or the criminal justice system. This could include anonymised information on individuals who are identified as being of concern with regards to human trafficking. This further information aims to provide a more accurate picture of the scale and extent of trafficking in Scotland and enable more effective targeting of enforcement activity and provision of support services.

A consultation on implementing Duty to Notify in Scotland closed on 6 September 2019. The consultation analysis report was published on 30 April 2020 and there was strong overall support for the Scottish Government proposals. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public services, implementation of the duty was paused, but the Scottish Government re-commenced discussions with stakeholders and the UK Government in 2022 and will drive forward this work in 2024.

4.4 Vision for Trade

Scotland's Vision for Trade sets out the principles and values for the trading relationships we want Scotland to have, now and in the future. The Vision for Trade recognises that a prominent issue for human rights and international trade is addressing the risk of forced labour in international supply chains. Scotland's trade policy acknowledges that trade can only genuinely be free and fair when the true costs of production are properly reflected in the prices charged for goods. Human rights abuses, including low wages, anti-trade union laws, forced labour, illegal appropriation of resources through occupation or political repression all act to distort markets. The need for Scotland's trade policy to directly address human rights is therefore both a moral imperative and a practical necessity.

As such, the Scottish Government welcomes and supports coordinated international action to address human rights violations, and is committed to securing and supporting democracy, the rule of law and human rights in other parts of the world.

Where we have the power to act we have done so, for instance introducing essential safeguards such as Human Rights due diligence checks.

The Scottish Government's Guidance on Due Diligence: Human Rights set out recommendations for how Scottish Government, executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies should undertake appropriate due diligence on companies, including their human rights record, before entering into an investment relationship with them.

4.5 Published guidance

In October 2018, the Scottish Government published guidance for businesses on how to identify and mitigate the risks of human trafficking and exploitation across their operations and supply chains. In October 2019, the Scottish Government published guidance for health care workers on recognising the signs of human trafficking and exploitation and how to respond if they have concerns, and COSLA published Human Trafficking and Exploitation Guidance to support local authorities in identifying, referring and supporting victims of human trafficking and exploitation and in disrupting and deterring criminal activities. In February 2020, the Scottish Government published guidance for public bodies on reducing the risk of human trafficking and exploitation in the performance of public contracts.



Back to top