Call for Evidence: Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill

Call for Evidence: Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill

Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2012. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.

10 February 2015

The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee is seeking views on the general principles of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill. The Bill sets out to consolidate and strengthen the existing criminal law against human trafficking and the offce relating to slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour.  It also seeks to enhance the status and support for victims. The Justice Committee is due to take oral evidence on the Bill at meetings on 3, 10, 17 and 24 March, before reporting on the general principles at the end of April/early May 2015. Written evidence to the committee must be submitted by 5:00pm on Tuesday 24 February 2015.  See the call for evidence here.

The BBC reports that faith groups have signed a letter to First Minisiter Nicola Sturgeon, written by Prof Hazel Watson of the Scottish Churches Anti-Human Trafficking group, asking for the purchase of sex to be outlawed in Scotland.  The letter argues that "The Nordic model effectively curbs demand and consequently reduces the trafficking for sexual exploitation into the countries that adopt it." However, a sex workers' charity Scot-Pep takes an opposing view arguing that criminalisation of clients makes sex workers more vulnerable to violence and exploitation.  Its co-chair, Fiona, noted: "The Swedish government cannot show a reduction in trafficking - but sex workers in Sweden are more vulnerable, isolated and afraid."