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 a Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy and to lay this before Parliament. This Strategy will then be reviewed in three years and may be redrafted to reflect the progress made.
This Strategy sets out the approach that the Scottish Government and its partners in the public, private and third sectors who have an interest in this issue will take to address human trafficking and exploitation, working with others in the UK and internationally.
The term 'human trafficking' as used in the Strategy encompasses human trafficking (as set out in Section 1 of the Act). Where the term 'exploitation' is used, this encompasses the offence of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour (as set in Section 4 of the Act).
Our Vision is to work to eliminate human trafficking and exploitation - both locally and globally. Whilst we recognise that this is ambitious, no level of human trafficking or exploitation is acceptable and, therefore, our ultimate aim must be to eliminate it.
No one agency or country can do this alone, so we will work in partnership at a local level, a national level and internationally.
In developing the Strategy, we worked in collaboration with stakeholders to identify the main areas in which action must be taken to tackle human trafficking and exploitation. The three high level Action Areas identified, which form the basis for this Strategy, are:
- Identify victims and support them to safety and recovery.
- Identify perpetrators and disrupt their activity.
- Address the conditions, both local and global, that foster trafficking and exploitation.
All of these taken together will help us to move towards our overall vision.
The Scottish Government and partners have identified a number of actions in relation to each of the Action Areas and these are set out throughout the document. A separate and more detailed Action Plan will be developed to deliver these. We have also identified measures that can be used to assess progress across the Strategy as a whole and these are set out in more detail at Section 5.