Human Trafficking and exploitation has been identified as one of the biggest threats facing communities across the world, and it is happening in communities across Scotland. Police Scotland's National Human Trafficking Unit works with agencies from across the UK, Europe and the world to put an end to this trade in human beings. Traffickers are making potentially millions of pounds out of sexually exploiting people in Scotland.
Victims end up being controlled, isolated and pushed into criminal activity against their will. Many victims don't speak the language of the host country and many have no means of contacting anyone outwith the circle of other victims, traffickers and those using victims. In some cases victims have had organs harvested and most live with the constant threat of extreme violence.
The internet has been highlighted as a key facilitator of Commercial Sexual Exploitation as a means of securing properties which will be operated as brothels. Short term renting of property is becoming increasingly common through short term letting websites. These properties have been referred to as "pop up brothels" with rentals being for a few days to a few weeks where the activity is under the control of a serious organised crime group
One woman, trafficked to Scotland and rescued during a police operation in Glasgow was forced into prostitution seven days a week, at least eight hours a day and her exploiters were charging £120 per hour. She had been in Scotland for three months.
Since 1st January 2018, 44 women and two men have identified themselves as victims of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and came forward to seek support. Of those, seven were girls under the age of 18.
In recent operations across Scotland, 12 potential victims of trafficking were identified.
One operation involved Police Scotland working with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Romanian police. It resulted in seven people from an eastern European crime gang being arrested in Romania and a number of potential victims were rescued from sexual exploitation in Glasgow. All of these victims were based in privately rented premises being used for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. All of the flats were in busy city centre communities, and all of it was happening in plain sight.
Trafficking operations are complex and prolonged often involving multiple agencies, including joint investigation teams from across Europe.
For more information, visit Trafficked In Plain Sight. Please help us end this crime in Scotland #Inplainsight