Jenny Marra MSP : Labour calls for Human Trafficking to be made Statutory Aggravation
29 February 2012
Scottish Labour has urged the SNP government to make making human trafficking a statutory aggravation in a debate in Holyrood today.
Speaking in this afternoon’s debate, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Jenny Marra MSP, said:
"Knowing whether you are one of ten victims or one of a hundred it doesn’t change the hell suffered by the victims of human trafficking.
"Collectively we must move on from looking to ‘prove’ that this is an issue, accept it is an issue and concentrate on developing our knowledge where it will count.
"We can no longer afford to wash our hands of this problem and put it at the door of the UK Border Agency because they are primarily concerned with migration.
"I urge the Cabinet Secretary to consider making human trafficking a statutory aggravation - a proposal which the Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland backs.
"Some people who traffic other humans can be brought into court on other charges – benefit fraud, assault, child abuse.
"Making trafficking an aggravation is a simple legal measure the Government could take to show the courts and police the severity of the crime and increase the number of perpetrators who are brought to justice for it.
"The Government should also seek to consider whether it might look at a lesser burden of proof.
"The justification for this is the intrinsic difficulties in identifying victims, their fear for themselves and their families if they speak out and the nature of the lives they lead that keep them concealed - out of the eyes of witnesses and the authorities.
"I also urge the Justice Secretary to demonstrate leadership and publish a strategy involving all agencies with the backing of parliament to make sure that traffickers can’t disappear between the cracks as they do at the moment."