Human trafficking

Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing global crime. According to the Global Slavery Index, there are upwards of 45 million people enslaved in the world today. Currently there are 3,000 new victims everyday – that’s 125 people per hour forced into slavery and trafficking.

Where does all this go on? It is sadly common to see women from Eastern Europe bonded into prostitution, children trafficked between West African countries and men forced to work as slaves on agricultural land all over the world.

Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. Contemporary slavery takes many forms and affects people of all ages, sex, and race, and it happens here in Scotland.

Victims of trafficking in Scotland end up working in many rural and urban industries, the most common being nail bars, building sites, car washes, farms, the fishing industry, the hospitality industry, factories, brothels and even within people’s homes. The UK Anti-Slavery Commissioner claimed that human trafficking is happening in every major town and city in the UK right now.

Scottish Churches Anti-Human Trafficking Group

The Church of Scotland is part of the Scottish Churches’ Anti-Human Trafficking Group. The group enables different denominations and churches across Scotland to work together for the eradication of human trafficking.

The group encourages the UK Government to consider the United Nations protocols to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons. It discusses with the Scottish Parliament allocation of resources to pursue and prosecute the traffickers, and support services for victims.

It is also a member of the Cross-Party Group on Human Trafficking which meets regularly with MSPs, and has responded to consultations on: Criminalisation of the Purchase of Sex (Scotland) Bill; Licensing of Sexual Entertainment Venues; and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill: Human Trafficking aggravation.

Resources

What are the indicators of human trafficking? - this leaflet encourages you to consider questions such as, Might the group of men whom you see every morning at the corner of the main road be waiting to be taken, without choice, to work in the construction industry?

Human trafficking: The Human Stories - includes stories of sex trafficking, distributing drugs illegally, and forced labour. "The supervisors shouted at us, swore at us ... did not call us by our names, we were called by numbers. They treated us like slaves."

Human trafficking contrary to the will of God - Right Rev Dr Derek Browning discussed human trafficking at a conference. “When any person is treated as a commodity, all of humanity is diminished.”

How to avoid buying into slavery - "Transparency in global product production is a choice that many companies choose not to take, which makes consumerism a very dangerous medium for human trafficking."

More slaves today than at any time in human history - ACTS Modern Slavery Conference

Human trafficking: What are the indicators? – get in touch with rerskine@churchofscotland.org.uk to order hard copies for your congregation or local church

To be Silent is to be Unfaithful - information, discussion topics and worship material which can help individuals and groups to understand and respond to the issues of human trafficking.

Organisations and campaigns

These sites provide more information about modern day slavery and human trafficking around the world, and resources, campaigns and practical suggestions about how you can work towards the eradication of trafficking: