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SBRC’s Serious Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism lead, David MacCrimmon, is asking people to be aware of human trafficking signs following Anti-Slavery Day.

David MacCrimmon, seconded Police Scotland officer.

Yesterday, October 18th 2020, marked the tenth Anti-Slavery Day in the UK, a day to ‘raise awareness of the need to eradicate all forms of slavery, human trafficking and exploitation.’

You may have seen some media articles on this, you may have read some tweets from organisations and charities, you may even have watched news reports on the two Vietnamese police officers coming over here to work with Police Scotland, and the report that there may be a greater risk of exploitation in the agriculture and fishing industries as lockdown altered the social and economic landscape in Scotland.

You may have ‘seen’ all of that, but did you see any of the potential victims of human trafficking and exploitation yesterday?

Did something seem suspicious?

When you went out shopping did you pass any nail bars and see the workers inside wearing masks? Did you think about why they were wearing masks? They did that before Covid-19, is it because of the chemicals they are using, or is it to disguise who they are?

When you went to the car wash, the one that does it for £5, did you see if it was the same people as last week? Or the week before that? Did you see if they were wearing the right clothing? Waterproofs?

When you watched the news articles on the sex trade did you see the women as criminals or victims?

My point is – did you see?

So many victims of human trafficking and modern slavery are hidden in plain sight and as such they are “unseen”. We don’t help by looking for a bargain, by getting something cheaper, by going for the lowest contract, by not looking at who we are employing and in doing so we are funding organised crime and adding to the misery of victims.

It’s time to not only start seeing, but to do more to tackle this and help the victims of Human Trafficking, to stop the exploitation.

Take action

According to a new report from Europol, “Human traffickers are using increasingly modern communication technologies to exploit their victims multiple times over: from advertising and recruiting victims, to blackmailing them with photos and videos to control their movements.”

As a society we need to learn how to spot the signs of potential victims and importantly, what to do and who to contact. Equally, it is important to look at your processes for training staff, your supply chain and to who you are giving money to for contracts or recruitment.

If you want to learn more, SBRC can deliver presentations on how to spot the signs of human trafficking to your organisation.

For more information, contact [email protected]