Human trafficking and exploitation strategy

Our strategy to work with partners to make Scotland a more hostile place for human trafficking.

Foreword: Cabinet Secretary for Justice

photograph of Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act was unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2015. This Act introduced a single offence for all kinds of trafficking for the first time, consolidating and strengthening existing law. It raised the maximum penalty for trafficking to life imprisonment and gave police and prosecutors a new set of tools to prevent and detect trafficking and to bring those responsible to justice.

In addition to the legislative measures themselves, the Act requires the Scottish Ministers to develop, for the first time, a Scottish trafficking and exploitation strategy. I am therefore pleased to publish this Strategy, which sets out the Scottish Government's approach and commitment to tackling human trafficking by supporting and protecting victims, disrupting the activities of perpetrators and addressing the conditions which foster trafficking, both in Scotland and elsewhere.

The development of this Strategy has truly been an exercise in partnership, and in learning from each other and the wider community. Most importantly, it has been developed by listening to victims themselves.

That is why I am confident that the Strategy will provide an effective blueprint for moving forward in the fight to eliminate human trafficking and exploitation - a vision which is challenging and ambitious, but also absolutely necessary.

The Strategy will make a valuable contribution, not just here in Scotland, but further afield. We continue to develop our links with initiatives and actions in other parts of the world. In addition, we continue to place great importance on our close work with European law enforcement agencies by taking part in Joint Investigation Teams and co-operating on the sharing of intelligence. I want to see that work continue as we move into delivering the Strategy.

This Strategy and the Action Plan that will follow, provide a strong foundation of engagement and co-operation on which we can build in order to deliver our vision of eliminating trafficking and exploitation. These will be living documents; we will adapt how they apply and how they are implemented, in light of changing circumstances, the experiences of victims and feedback from partners.

Michael Matheson
Cabinet Secretary for Justice


Email: Anncris Roberts

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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