Trafficking and exploitation strategy: fourth annual progress report - 2020 to 2021

Report setting out progress implementing the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy from 2020 to 2021.

Section 5


Identify victims and support them to safety and recovery

Measure: Number of potential victims identified

Definition: All victims (adults and children) who entered the NRM and (in due course) those identified through the 'duty to notify' process

2020/21 data: The full 2020 annual report was published by the Home Office Single Competent Authority in March 2021, including a breakdown of referrals from Scotland:

Key figures for Scotland in 2020:

Total referrals: 387

59% of all cases reported to the National Referral Mechanism in 2020 in relation to Scotland included indicators of labour exploitation.

The most common nationality of victims was Vietnamese (96), UK (41) and Chinese (37).

Measure: Number of adult victims provided with support

Definition: Reports from the support provider

2020/21 data: TARA supported 95 women over the course of 2020/2021, of those 57 were newly identified during the year.

26 women were provided with crisis accommodation and no women were repatriated due to COVID travel restrictions. However, 3 women were supported to return or relocate elsewhere in the UK.

On the 31 March 2021 TARA had:

  • 58 open cases;
  • All women had been referred into the NRM and granted a positive Reasonable Grounds (RG) Decision;
  • 6 had received a positive Conclusive Grounds (CG) Decision but still required ongoing support;
  • 52 CG Decisions outstanding; and
  • 37 cases were closed during 2020/21

The average length of support for the 58 open cases was 9 months with support times ranging from 20 months to a few days. The average length of support for the 37 closed cases was 13 months with support times ranging from 24 months to less than a month.

Scottish Government funding enabled TARA to directly provide 43 women with unlimited internet data for 12 months and to issue 35 'smart' phones. TARA also supported 20 women to access a Chrome Book or iPad with 12 months unlimited data via the Connecting Scotland fund in June 2020 and successfully applied on behalf of 30 women for smart devices (phone/laptop/tablet) with unlimited data for 12 months via the Victim Support Scotland fund throughout the year. This means that a total of 93 women using TARA's service have been enabled to access online supports such as legal advice, health appointments, ANCHOR services, AMMA birth companions, ESOL classes and support access to education for children, along with accessing other formal and informal support groups during periods of lockdown.

Women have told TARA digital access has significantly improved their access to services (including TARA), helped reduce social isolation and improved their feelings of well-being and safety. The TARA team report that more women initiate contact with TARA and the use of emojis or online translation apps mean that their confidence to proactively communicate with TARA has increased.

Migrant Help supported 388 clients during 2020/21, including 259 new clients,

  • 22 cases where a positive CG Decision was made;
  • 3 cases where a negative CG Decision was made;
  • 6 cases where a negative RG Decision was made;
  • 4 cases where the client decided to leave Scotland;
  • 13 cases where the client absconded;
  • 3 cases where the client was repatriated;
  • 61 cases where the CG Decision was outstanding and the support level was low;
  • 49 cases where the CG Decision was outstanding and the support level was high.

The average length of support provided in 2020/21 was 202 days, which was substantially longer than 2019/20 (138 days) and can be attributed to additional support measures put in place as a consequence of COVID-19.

Measure: Number of trafficked or exploited children supported through the child protection system

Definition: This will be based on the returns already provided to the Scottish Government by local authorities

2020/21 data: In March 2021, the Children's social work statistics: 2019 to 2020 - ( scot) were published. The publication outlines the latest data on children and young people who are looked after, on the child protection register or in secure care in Scotland. The number for the child trafficking indicator is grouped within the "Other Concerns" category in the publication.

Measure: Number of children who are allocated an independent child trafficking guardian (ICTG)

Definition: Number of children who receive the support of an ICTG

2020/21 data: The Scottish Guardianship Service provides additional support for children and young people who have been trafficked, and for whom no-one in the UK holds parental responsibilities.

At 31 March 2021, the Scottish Guardianship Service was supporting 290 young people across Scotland. Between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, 94 children and young people were referred to the service, including 9 through the National Transfer Scheme.

The Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2021/22 included a commitment to launch the Independent Child Trafficking Guardian (ICTG) service in the summer of 2022.[41]

Identify perpetrators and disrupt their activity

Measure: Number of individuals convicted for the offences

Definition: Persons convicted in that year under section 1 and section 4 of the Act and also under earlier legislation (section 22 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003, section 4 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimaints etc.) Act 2004 and section 47 of the Criminal Justice Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010

2020/21 data: Nil

Measure: Number of individuals convicted of offences with a human trafficking background

Definition: Convictions using the aggravations set out in sections 5, 6 and 7 of the Act in that year

2020/21 data: Nil

Measure: Number of orders made under Part 4 of the Act

Definition: Orders made in that year using the powers in Part 4 of the Act

2020/21 data: Nil

Measure: Public awareness of the issue of human trafficking and exploitation

Definition: Questions in public survey conducted annually The research in the first four waves was conducted using a face- to-face, in-home, CAPI Omnibus survey – the Scottish Opinion Survey (SOS) – as the method for data collection. Six waves of research have now been conducted:

  • Wave 1 (2017) A sample of 1,025 adults aged 16+ was interviewed across Scotland between 1 and 26 March 2017.
  • Wave 2 (2018): A sample of 1,008 adults aged 16+ was interviewed across Scotland between 28 February and 2 April 2018
  • Wave 3 (2019): A sample of 1,082 adults aged 16+ was interviewed across Scotland between 20th February and 20th March 2019.
  • Wave 4 (2020) A sample of 317 adults aged 16+ was interviewed between 4th and 10th March 2020
  • Wave 5 (2020) A sample of 1,006 adults interviewed online between 2nd and 6th April 2020
  • Wave 6 (2021) A sample of 1,000 adults interviewed online between 17th and 24th March 2021

2020/21 data: Percentage of respondents stating that Human Trafficking is a problem 'to a great extent' in each area:

  2017 % 2018 % 2019 % 2020 F2F % 2021 Online % 2022 Online %
Europe 53 59 58 60 41 45
Rest of the world (not including Europe) 63 69 67 72 60 57
The UK 30 34 30 35 23 25
Scotland 14 16 13 13 14 15
Your local area of Scotland 5 4 5 4 8 8

The full 2021 survey report can be found at

Infrastructure and partnership working

Measure: Numbers of statutory bodies that have specific referral mechanisms for human trafficking and exploitation within their organisation and using them

Definition: Self-reporting through the Strategy Implementation Group

2020/21 data: Section 38 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 places a duty on Scottish public authorities to notify the Chief Constable of Police Scotland about a person who is, or appears to be, a victim of an offence under the Act. Notifications must not contain any information which could identify individuals unless consent has been given to do so.

The public consultation in respect of the duty launched on 16 June 2019 and ended on 6 September 2019.

The analysis report for the public consultation on section 38 of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015: Duty to notify and provide information about victims, was published on 30 April 2020. The report can be accessed at the link below:

The implementation of section 38 has been delayed due to the ongoing response to Covid-19 and the continuing impact on public services.

Measure: Number of organisations (statutory and non-statutory) within Scotland that have action plans or similar that contribute to delivering the overall aims of the Strategy

Definition: Self-reporting through the Stakeholder Forum arrangement

2020/21 data: Slavery and Human Trafficking Guidance for Businesses was published by the Scottish Government in October 2018 in order to help organisations identify and prevent human trafficking and exploitation across their operations.

Following the Independent Review of the UK's Modern Slavery Act 2015, the Home Office held a public consultation from July- September 2019 around reforms to the obligation on businesses to produce and publish Slavery and Human Trafficking Statements. The Scottish Government supported this process, including hosting a joint session with the Home Office and Scottish stakeholders to ensure their views were captured.

The Scottish Government has supported the creation of Scotland Against Modern Slavery (SAMS) alongside Shan Saba, a director with Brightwork Recruitment. The development of SAMS will help inform and share best practice about human trafficking and exploitation throughout the business community in Scotland.



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