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Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy

Human trafficking and exploitation are complex and hidden crimes, as well as abuses of human rights and dignity. Trading adults and children as commodities and exploiting them for profit or personal benefit degrades victims and can cause lasting physical and psychological damage. The many purposes for which people are used – including commercial sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, criminal exploitation (for example, benefit fraud and forced drugs cultivation), domestic servitude, sham marriages and organ trafficking – are continually evolving. Victims can be subjected to more than one form of exploitation, e.g. commercial sexual exploitation and criminal exploitation in the form of shop-lifting.

Human trafficking and exploitation are not only international issues. It happens here and is not confined to our cities. There is also a perception that trafficking is about people from outwith the UK, however adults and children, including UK citizens, are trafficked and exploited within and between

communities in Scotland and the wider UK. In October 2015 the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 (“the Act”). This was the culmination of significant work between agencies and across the political spectrum, including the Cross Party Group on Human Trafficking.

One of the requirements in the Act is for the Scottish Government to prepare this Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy and to lay it before Parliament. We will review this Strategy at least every three years.

The Scottish Government has worked with a wide range of organisations and individuals to develop and agree this Strategy. Those who have been most closely involved as part of the Strategic Oversight Group and the Strategy Implementation Group are listed in the Annex.

We have developed this Strategy to bring together and build on all the valuable work already undertaken by the Scottish Government, local authorities, Police Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), NHS Scotland and others to provide coherent, effective support for victims and take action against perpetrators.