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Increase in number of Scots willing to report human trafficking concerns

Image credit: Red Cross

Increase in number of Scots willing to report human trafficking concerns

Scots are increasingly willing to report concerns over human trafficking to police, according to a new Scottish Government study.

The survey, based on two different samples, each composed of more than a 1,000 adults, found that 87 per cent of respondents said they would report suspicions of human trafficking to police, up from 80 per cent last year.

Meanwhile 12 per cent said they would tell friends or family, down from 16 per cent in 2017 and 14 per cent said would find out more information, compared to 15 per cent previously.

It found that 12 per cent would stop using/visiting the service where the exploitation was taking place, down from 14 per cent last year previously. One per cent of respondents said they would do nothing.

The survey found that 16 per cent of people consider human trafficking to be a problem ‘to a great extent’ in Scotland, up from 14 per cent in 2017. But 34 per cent said it was a problem ‘to a great extent’ in the UK, compared to 30 per cent in 2017. Meanwhile 59 per cent identified it as a problem ‘to a great extent’ in Europe, up from 53 per cent last year.

As in 2017, those in the West of Scotland are significantly more likely to think that human trafficking is an issue ‘to a great extent’ in Scotland, with 20 per cent in agreement, compared to 13 per cent in the East and South and 12 per cent in the North.

The poll found those in the AB social grades continue to be significantly more likely than those in the lower social grades to cite a number of industries where adults can be victims of trafficking, with women more aware than men, and younger age groups the least likely to be aware.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This survey clearly shows that, in 2018, more people are recognising trafficking, where it takes place, and what to do about it.

“The findings are also in line with the increase in trafficking reports made to Police Scotland, published earlier this year and suggests the Scottish Government’s recent awareness raising campaign has reached a wide range of people.

“However, we cannot be complacent. Such appalling abuses of human rights must stop and we are continuing to make Scotland a hostile environment for traffickers, including giving Police Scotland the power to ban suspects from a range of activities.

“We also remain focused on victims and have increased the statutory minimum period of support to ensure trafficked individuals will receive care over a longer period, which will greatly aid their rehabilitation.”

The Scottish Government has been running a campaign aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking, with 25 per cent of adults in Scotland claiming to have seen an aspect of the advertising.

The survey reported that 15 per cent claimed to have seen TV advertising, 10 per cent had seen online or social media adverts and four per cent said they had seen the ads but were unsure where.

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