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Human Trafficking Laws Come into Force

New legal measures designed to tackle human trafficking and improve support for victims came into force in Scotland on 31st May 2016.

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 includes the possibility of a sentence of life imprisonment for those convicted of human trafficking or slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour.

The Act also gives police and the courts new powers to confiscate and seize property used for human trafficking. In addition, courts will be able to impose longer sentences for other crimes which involve trafficking, where trafficking is committed by a public official, or when the victim is a child.

“The new offence of trafficking will ensure perpetrators will face the toughest possible penalties while also providing greater protections for their victims,” explained Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson. “We are also clarifying and strengthening the criminal law around trafficking and exploitation, and giving police and prosecutors further tools to track down and prosecute criminals.”

“However, legislation alone will not stop trafficking, which is why we are developing a Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy to build on the work already being undertaken to increase public awareness and help businesses and staff spot the signs of potential trafficking and exploitation,” he added.

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