21 March 2014
Victory for human trafficking campaign
This was a fantastic week in the fight against human trafficking in Scotland as the Scottish Government gave its long awaited verdict on the proposals contained within MSP Jenny Marra's proposed Human Trafficking (Scotland) Bill.
After a considerable amount of lobbying and over 45,000 supportive consultation responses to the initial proposal, on Monday morning Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary, announced that the Scottish government would be bringing forward a government bill incorporating most of the proposals originally bought forward by Jenny Marra. This is an enormous step forward and gives the potential for Scotland to enact some of the most comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation anywhere in the world.
The Evangelical Alliance, as part of the Abolition Scotland coalition has been lobbying on this issue for many months and so we are delighted that the Scottish government has now seen the value of enacting this unique legislation. The Human Trafficking (Scotland) Bill is an outstanding piece of legislation that will undoubtedly help in the fight against trafficking. In particular it offers a new definition of human trafficking based on the world recognised Palermo Protocol, it provides for strong co-ordination between government and civil society, and most especially of all it offers considerable support to victim care services working with those directly affected by this awful crime.
It is an exciting time in the fight against human trafficking in the UK with legislation planned in Scotland, Northern Ireland and at Westminster all aimed at tackling this modern day slavery. It is our hope that the best parts of each bill can be incorporated into the other legislation to ensure that the whole of the UK has the best possible approach. We will continue to work closely across the UK as an Alliance and with our partners to ensure that this happens.
We are very grateful for all the support of our members so far that has got us to this stage. Abolition Scotland will be continuing to develop over the coming months and we are delighted to also announce the first Abolition Scotland conference to be held in Edinburgh in June. This day conference will bring together politicians, practitioners, church leaders and activists to equip the church to respond to human trafficking in Scotland. It will be held on Saturday, 7 June at Ps and Gs church (St Paul's and St George's) and we are delighted that Elaine Storkey and Jenny Marra MSP have provisionally agreed to speak . We will be announcing further speakers and details in due course.