UNHS is dedicated to the eradication of human trafficking and modern slavery in Scotland through our initiative, "See Me, Free Me."
Through education, collaboration, and strategic partnership with concerned citizens in all levels of society, we are working to raise awareness for the causes, impacts, and signs of human trafficking and modern slavery in our communities.
Below are a selection of UNHS original blogs on the topic of human trafficking and modern slavery. Over the course of the "See Me, Free Me" campaign conducted data analysis and interviews to shed light on the state of HTMS in Scotland. In addition to UNHS original blogs, we've compiled a resource library full of academic articles, policy documents, and reports that help illustrate the magnitude and severity of this global crime.
About Human Trafficking
Human trafficking, also referred to as modern slavery includes recruitment, transportation, harbouring or transfer of people by coercive, deceptive or forceful means for the purpose of exploitation. The ‘See Me, Free Me’ Conference, hosted by United Nations House Scotland in Edinburgh on 23rd March 2018 was dedicated to discussing and addressing issues related to Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery (HTMS). The conference focussed on discovering options/ avenues for multi-sectoral engagement on HTMS in the United Kingdom, however, more specifically in Scotland.
Although HTMS effects over 40 million people globally, the problem remains inadequately addressed by communities, governments at the local, regional and national levels and, domestic and international law enforcement agencies. This is primarily due to problems associated with identification, prevention, awareness, accountability, rehabilitation/ survivor care, enforcement and, monitoring and evaluation of HTMS.
Very often, victims are themselves unaware that they have been subjected to HTMS. Successfully addressing HTMS involves accurate identification of what acts constitute HTMS as well as identification of vulnerable communities and vulnerable individuals, such as migrants and those from ethnic and religious minorities. High profitability linked with HTMS is one of the main socio-economic drivers of HTMS. Technological advancement and the availability of cheaper and faster means of transportation and communication have made human trafficking easier.
Developing strategies to combat HTMS requires cooperation and information sharing between the private, public and third sector. The goal is to prevent HTMS through legislative frameworks, community awareness programs and educational curricula. Awareness building helps to educate and empower individuals, particularly the youth (primary and high schools students and university students), in order to enable them to organize themselves in the fight against HTMS.
Greater transparency and accountability remain at the heart of the struggle against HTMS. On the legislative front, greater accountability can be achieved through higher levels of compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Currently, the mechanisms in place to monitor and ensure such compliance are insufficient specifically in the private sector. An active initiative on the part of private companies– to ensure greater transparency and visibility in supply chains through vigilance and regular checks– may serve as a driving force of a HTMS-free world.
The need to develop effective policies surrounding survivor-care that encourage rehabilitation and reintegration of victims is also essential. This can be achieved through easy access to already existent support services in addition to the development of newer policies which focus on pre-employment training, banking, childcare and other services. The disproportionate impact of HTMS on women and children must be considered while developing the required policies.
The "See Me, Free Me" Initiative
The "See Me, Free Me" Initiative took place from July 2017 to March 2018 and aimed to raise awareness for the causes, impacts, and signs of HTMS in our communities through education, collaboration, and strategic partnership with concerned citizens in all levels of society.
Culminating in a sold-out conference – "Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in
Scotland: Raising Awareness - Strengthening Collaboration – Breaking the Chains"– this successful UNHS project brought together academics, government officials, concerned citizens, and NGOs to engage in dialogue about HTMS in Scotland.
In addition to the conference, creation of the resource library, and original research and analysis from UNHS, the initiative involved the engagement of Scottish high school students through the Scottish Schools Competition and partnership with Liberation Kilt Company, Christina McKelvie, MSP and Ash Denham, MSP.