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Anti – Slavery Day

Jenny Mara MSP, Co-Chair of the Cross Party Group on Human Trafficking at the Scottish Parliament addressed 70 local Soroptimists and their friends at the Invercarse Hotel on Tuesday evening.

Jenny Marra MSP

A Summary of Ms Marra’s Presentation 

Anti-slavery Day and the 2014 Commonwealth Games were triggers for a Human Trafficking Summit held in Edinburgh on 18th October. Given the nature of trafficking it it very difficult to identify victims and to quantify the extent of the problem. It is estimated that there are probably approximately 100 victims in Scotland. Some work in the sex industry, others are domestic servants, forced labourers (possibly contracted for farm work by gang masters) or are impelled into a forced marriage. There has only been one prosecution in Scotland in contrast to 150 in England and Wales over the same period.

In order to address this apparent discrepancy front line workers in the Police, Fire and Ambulance services are to be given training in recognising signs marking potential victims. Raising awareness and advocating change are the ways in which the Public can push things forward.
There are 5 steps which have to be taken:
1) The establishment of a clear legal definition of trafficking
2) Raise awareness of law enforcers
3) An improved referral mechanism
4) A National Strategy on Trafficking as there are currently many agencies in the field
5) The establishment of the Cross-Party Group will serve to address some of these issues and produce a consultation document in due course.
Jenny Marra’s talk generated a lively question and answer session with most of those attending looking for clarification, awareness raising and training.
Several people drew the groups attention to the film on Human Trafficking ‘ Nefarious- Merchant of Souls’ which is being shown in churches across Scotland.
Human Trafficking is a serious and growing problem which is impacting on the lives of 27 million people across the world of which 70% are women.
Sororptimist International Purple Teardrop Campaign continues to raise awareness on trafficking.
Prue Watson
Communications Officer