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Human Trafficking Bill must be strengthened

Human Trafficking
2 March 2015
Human trafficking 1 4

PRESS RELEASE - A leading coalition of anti-trafficking charities will call on the Scottish Government to significantly strengthen the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill to ensure it is truly effective.

Made up of key anti-trafficking charities such as CARE for Scotland, International Justice Mission and Evangelical Alliance Scotland, Abolition Scotland will welcome the Bill as an opportunity to tackle the issue of modern day slavery in Scotland.

CARE for Scotland’s Parliamentary Officer Gordon Macdonald will address the Justice Committee at Holyrood tomorrow on behalf of the group.

He will urge the committee to strengthen the Bill by criminalising the purchase of sexual services, which would see Scotland follow in Northern Ireland’s footsteps, as well as Scandinavian countries and Canada.

Dr Macdonald will argue this is the only way to tackle demand and unless this measure is included, it is unlikely trafficking will ever truly be eradicated in Scotland.

He will also stress the need for the legislation to provide a statutory basis for the Scottish Guardianship scheme and for improvements to be made to the support for victims suggested in the Bill.

Speaking on behalf of Abolition Scotland, Dr Gordon MacDonald said:

“This Bill represents a real opportunity for Scotland to take a major step forward in tackling the scourge of modern day slavery.

“Much of the Bill is welcome, not least the fact it places a duty of Ministers to provide adequate support for victims.

“But there’s massive room for improvement. We want to see a number of significant changes, not least in terms of criminalising purchase of sex.

“The evidence from countries where this measure already exists only highlights its effectiveness and if you really want to tackle human trafficking, you need to focus your preventative efforts on addressing the source of it – namely demand for sexual services.

“Northern Ireland has led the way when it comes to providing robust anti-trafficking legislation and we are calling on the Scottish Government to take a leaf out of Lord Morrow’s Bill and make sure this golden opportunity to deal with this problem is not wasted.”

Notes to Editors:

For interview requests, please contact CARE’s media officer James Mildred on 0207 227 4731 /

Abolition Scotland campaigns against human trafficking and seeks to mobilise people across Scotland and equip them to fight against the scourge of modern day slavery. All views expressed by Abolition Scotland represent the views of the Abolition Scotland Coalition and do not necessarily represent the individual views of all coalition members. Their website can be found here.

  • The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill was introduced by Michael Matheson MSP on December 11, 2014.
  • Dr Gordon Macdonald will give evidence to the Justice Committee on behalf of Abolition Scotland on Tuesday March 3, 2015

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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is one of the greatest violations of human dignity. We are fighting for effective laws that will help victims get better support.

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