Jenny Marra MSP Launches Human Trafficking Consultation

11 September 2013    

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Jenny Marra MSP has lodged a consultation on a proposal for new anti-human trafficking legislation for Scotland with the support of Baroness Helena Kennedy, and world leading anti-trafficking expert Dr Anne T. Gallagher.

The consultation proposes a raft of measures to improve Scotland’s anti-trafficking response, based on EU law that came in to force in April this year and recommendations of the EHRC’s Inquiry into Human Trafficking in Scotland.

The consultation will be launched alongside the EU’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, Myria Vassiliadou, on Wednesday the 11th of September at a conference organised by JUSTICE Scotland.

Speaking on the proposed legislation, Jenny Marra MSP, said :

“One victim of human trafficking is found in Scotland every four days, yet only five people have ever been convicted of human trafficking offences in Scotland.

“The Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Group has found evidence that victims of human trafficking, including children, are being held in Scottish jails for crimes they were forced to commit by traffickers.

“This situation is simply unacceptable and it is time for Scotland to be a leader in protecting victims of modern day slavery.

“This legislation will enable Scotland to tackle the scourge of human trafficking and I hope that it will receive the broad support, from all parties, which it deserves.

“I’m delighted that it has received support from experts already and I look forward to debating it in the Scottish Parliament in due course.

Dr Anne T Gallagher, the leading global expert on the international law on human trafficking said:

"I congratulate Jenny Marra MSP on launching this consultation.

“It is high time we all stood up and declared our opposition to human exploitation.

“Strong laws are an essential element of ending impunity for traffickers and securing justice for victims.

“The consultation is a critical step in developing such legislation, reflecting well on how seriously Scotland takes this issue, and I wish it the success is deserves.

“If passed it would be the most innovative and comprehensive piece of anti-trafficking legislation in the world.”

Baroness Helena Kennedy, who let the Equality and Human Right’s Commission Inquiry into Human Trafficking in Scotland said:

“Jenny Marra is demonstrating political leadership and courage by launching this consultation.

“Human trafficking is one of the most pressing human rights violations in the contemporary world, it is a matter of crime not immigration, so Scotland can – starting with this consultation – now move to have exemplar modern slavery legislation that is a beacon to others."

Myria Vassiliadou, the EU’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, speaking ahead of the conference said:

“I look forward to the conference organised by JUSTICE Scotland on 11 September and to discuss with the Scottish decision makers and civil society representatives active in the field.

“The momentum is there.

“The date for the EU Member States to convert this first EU legislation on addressing trafficking in human beings into national law passed in April this year.
“It is now time to carry out what has been agreed.

“I strongly believe that if fully and swiftly implemented, this legislation can make a real difference for victims’ lives, prevent others from becoming victims, and help to better address this horrible phenomenon.

Graham O’Neill, who led research into EHRC Inquiry into Human Trafficking in Scotland said:

“We are not peculiar in having modern slavery but it is here and not only in the criminal underworld and cities but in our legitimate economy and our towns and villages too.

“We need to spot and to stop it, but that requires relentless action by our institutions and communities.

“This is a generational undertaking that requires the long-term solutions that only law can provide.

“I now hope that the Bill receives cross party support and that our Parliament delivers exemplary anti-slavery legislation."


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