No-one is helped by equating all sex work with trafficking

Apr 25, 2015
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The Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament is right to endorse the Scottish Government’s proposed human trafficking legislation.

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill, introduced to parliament last year, will create a specific offence of human trafficking for the first time.

It will increase the maximum penalty for people traffickers to life imprisonment and help victims by introducing a presumption that they will not be prosecuted for crimes they are forced to commit by others.


Overall it represents a welcome strengthening of Scotland’s response to human trafficking and modern day slavery, by making it a matter of criminal law.

However some wanted the bill to go further. A significant campaign has been fought suggesting the committee should urge ministers to revise the bill to criminalise the purchase of sex.

There is a precedent for this, as a similar trafficking bill in Northern Ireland was used to change the law in this way, and buying sex there is now illegal.

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