Human trafficking on the agenda at Falkirk Council

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A BID to raise the awareness of ‘human trafficking’ across the Falkirk Council area is kicked off this week as part of Falkirk Domestic Abuse Multi-Agency Partnership’s drive to eradicate what is considered as a modern day form of slavery.

The partnership is joining forces with the council’s child protection Ccommittee to inform others about this often hidden crime.

Dozens of professionals who work in a wide range of activities related to adult and child protection will gather at Municipal Buildings, Falkirk, this week to hear of the work that goes on across a number of areas to prevent this and also to alert them to tell-tale signs.

Human trafficking can take many forms and individuals of all ages are exploited for many reasons.

These can include sexual exploitation; forced labour; domestic servitude; drug cultivation; benefit fraud, forced marriage and illegal adoptions.

Age and gender are not exclusive, although victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly female, and it can involve trafficking across both national and international borders.

Councillor Jim Blackwood, Falkirk Council’s convener of housing and social work said: “Individuals who are trafficked can often be forced to endure the most horrendous of circumstances with their identity never being known to anyone but the traffickers.

“They can be forced into doing work under extreme duress and face the real threat of violence if they do not comply.

“There has been evidence of trafficking in the Falkirk Council area in the past and we are certain that it does go on however by awareness raising programmes like these, we are in a far better position to train care professionals to spot the danger signs and help to alert the public.”

Examples of trafficking across the Falkirk Council area include:

* A woman from China trafficked for sexual exploitation in a brothel;

* Two Romanian teenagers trafficked for the purposes of street crime;

* A Chinese male (aged 17) trafficked for the purposes of cannabis cultivation.