The spotlight fell on the work done by the UK Government and its partners to combat human trafficking today as the Scotland Office David Mundell marked Anti-Slavery Day with a visit to Edinburgh Airport.
The Minister met UK Border Force staff to discuss the way it works with its partners, including Lothian & Borders Police, to put measures in place to prevent trafficking and the arrangements which are in place to identify and support victims.
He was one of a number of UK Government Ministers on visits across the country to highlight Anti-Slavery Day. The Advocate General for Scotland, the Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, will represent the UK Government at a summit on human trafficking in Edinburgh, hosted by the Scottish Government’s Justice Secretary.
A report published today by the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group (IDMG) on Human Trafficking shows that more work than ever before is being carried out both in the UK and internationally to prosecute criminals and stop trafficking gangs in their tracks. It explains gangs that lure victims to the UK and then exploit them for sex, labour and domestic slavery are being targeted following action by the UK Government.
You can read it here: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime/human-trafficking/
Scotland Office Minister David Mundell said:
“The UK Government is taking major steps to clamp down on the terrible crime of human trafficking across the country. It is an issue with a high human cost and we must work across the board to protect those at risk and bring the criminals responsible to justice.
“We have already taken significant steps in the fight against trafficking but the UK Government knows more can be done. We’ll continue to work across government and with others to make sure we keep ahead of the threat and do all we can to keep vulnerable people safe.”
Organised criminal gangs within countries including China, Nigeria, Vietnam, Slovakia and Romania now pose the greatest threat to the UK but co-ordinated action between the UK and these countries including intelligence sharing with international police forces, lobbying governments to ratify the UN convention against transnational organised crime and raising awareness about trafficking through local media in source countries is proving effective.
The UK Government is also working with these countries to tackle the problem at its source by lobbying for changes to countries¿ laws. UK prosecutors from the Crown Prosecution Service’s International Team are based in priority countries to improve their criminal justice response to traffickers, training judges, prosecutors and investigators to deal with offences better and to gather evidence and support for prosecutions in the UK.
The IDMG Report shows that during the past two years, thousands of front-line professionals including border staff, police and healthcare staff have been trained to better identify, support and protect those vulnerable individuals who may be suffering abuse at the hands of traffickers. Victim profiles have been developed and given to border staff and a human trafficking intelligence and victim referral map and guidance has been issued to all border staff.
Some airlines including Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook are training cabin crew to identify those who may be engaged in trafficking and their potential victims and a 24-hour confidential line has been set up for crew to report concerns to Border Force before a plane lands in the UK. The government is currently working with other UK based airlines to encourage them to sign-up. There is also ongoing work with other key industries including hotels and hospitality to raise awareness of trafficking.