Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy review: Public awareness survey analysis

The results of an independent survey of public awareness of human trafficking.

Background & methodology

The Scottish Government has commissioned a public survey of human trafficking awareness each year since 2017, with the first survey carried out just prior to publication of the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy. The survey asks a range of questions relating to public perceptions of what human trafficking is, whether it takes place in Scotland and what people would do if they had a concern.

The 2017, 2018 and 2019 research was conducted using a face-to-face, in-home method of data collection. This data was weighted to match population profiles to ensure it was both demographically and geographically representative of the adult population of Scotland.

The 2020 research was compiled in two parts due to COVID -19. Between 4th and 10th March a total of 317 interviews had been undertaken. After the first week of planned fieldwork interviewing was suspended in line with public health protection measures.  In the circumstances, it was decided to undertake the 2020 wave using Kantar’s Online Omnibus Survey:

  • 2020 (online): A sample of 1,006 adults interviewed online between 2nd and 6th April 2020

Given the small face to face sample in 2020, this data has not been weighted. The online sample has been weighted to be representative of the Scottish population however.

Given the change in methodology in 2020, reporting of the results this year is slightly different. Kantar have presented (unweighted) face to face results based on the 317 interviews to provide a broad trend comparison with the previous three years. Even though this sample size is small, there is a great deal of consistency in the face to face results in 2020 compared to previous years.

Differences in 2020 data reported online therefore are more a result of the very different methodology than any evidence of changes in trends or behaviours.  For the reasons stated, caution should be taken in comparing any online results from 2020 with face to face results from previous year, as the interview mode effect is significant.

Public awareness survey analysis
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