The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee is seeking views on the general principles of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill, which was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 11 December 2014. A copy of the Bill can be found at the following link:
The Policy Memorandum on the Bill sets out the overarching policy objectives of the Bill: to consolidate and strengthen the existing criminal law against human trafficking and the offence relating to slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and enhance the status of and support for victims. The Justice Committee is particularly interested in your views on the following proposals in the Bill:
- the creation of a single human trafficking offence for all forms of exploitation for adults and children;
- increasing the maximum penalty from 14 years to life imprisonment for this offence;
- establishing statutory aggravations to any criminal offence where the offence is connected with human trafficking, and where the offence has been committed by a public official in the course of their duties;
- placing a duty on the Lord Advocate to publish guidance about the prosecution of credible trafficking victims who have committed offences;
- placing a duty on Scottish Ministers to secure the provision of relevant immediate support and recovery services for the victims of trafficking;
- establishing trafficking and exploitation prevention orders and risk orders;
- placing a duty on the Scottish Ministers to prepare, publish and regularly review and update a trafficking and exploitation strategy to be laid before the Parliament; and
- placing a duty on public bodies to provide anonymised data about potential human trafficking and exploitation victims to Police Scotland.
Further details on the Bill are contained in the Policy Memorandum and Explanatory Notes.
The Justice Committee is due to take oral evidence on the Bill at meetings on 3, 10, 17 and 24 March, before reporting on the general principles at the end of April/early May 2015.
Format of written submissions
The Justice Committee invites all interested organisations and individuals to submit written evidence on the provisions in the Bill no later than 5:00pm on Tuesday 24 February 2015.
Before you draft a submission, please read the Parliament’s policy on the treatment of written evidence by subject and mandatory committees. Please also ensure that your submission:
- is up to 4 sides of A4 (longer submissions should include a short summary of the main issues)
- is set out with simple numbered paragraphs
- includes hyperlinks or full citations when you are referring to existing published material (rather than quoting extensive extracts)
- is provided electronically in word processing format (e.g. Microsoft Word or Apple pages) wherever possible.
Your submission will be published on the Committee webpages. However, if you would prefer your evidence to be treated confidentially, please contact the justice clerks (at the contact details below) before submitting your evidence. It is for the Committee to take any decisions on whether to accept a submission on the basis that it will not be published (although it would be seen in full by the Committee). The Parliament is however required to consider requests for information under freedom of information legislation and therefore we cannot guarantee that the evidence will never be released.
Submit your evidence:
by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or in hard copy to:
Justice Committee Clerks
The Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh, EH99 1SP
If you have any queries about written submissions, please contact the justice clerks on 0131 348 5220 or at the contact details above.