By Karin Goodwin in The Ferret
The Home Office is planning to take “a scythe” to protections currently offered to trafficking victims in Scotland – including sexually exploited women and children – with its new migration bill, campaigners and lawyers have warned.
The bill, which could see trafficking survivors detained indefinitely or deported to Rwanda, was a “gift to traffickers”, they claimed and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. They urged the Scottish Government to take legal advice on the role it would be forced to play.
Currently, the Scottish Government offers suspected trafficking victims safe accommodation, and support from agencies including Migrant Help and the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA), which works with sexually exploited women. Many go on to claim asylum because of the risk posed by traffickers if they return to their countries of origin.
But under new rules laid down by the UK Government – expected to become law this summer – the Scottish Government would not be allowed to offer suspected trafficking victims support, either before they had a “reasonable grounds” decision to suspect they were a trafficking survivor, or after a 90 day grace period.