Dispel myths and protect trafficking victims

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Women deserve the right to safety and services

A new report published this week acknowledges the hidden nature of trafficking in Scotland and the negativity and lack of knowledge surrounding migration. The report, called Inquiry into Migration and Trafficking, has been compiled by the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee.

“We warmly welcome the findings of this report and the fact that the committee is listening to issues around migration and trafficking,” says Simon Hodgson, Scottish Refugee Council Director of Policy.

“We very much hope that the recommendations they have made will be taken forward, and both help counter negative myths about migrants including those that come to Scotland seeking protection as well as raising awareness of the brutal realities of trafficking in Scotland.”

Key findings

In Scotland there is negativity and a lack of knowledge about migration, finds the report. It is important that we dispel myths about migration. We at Scottish Refugee Council work hard to do this. For example we ensure there are accurate and positive stories in the media and raise the profile of the significant contribution that refugees make to Scotland during Refugee Week each year.

Politicians also have a significant role to play in influencing public debate and dispelling myths. At this time of public sector cuts, migrants are often used as scapegoats. We welcome the Equal Opportunities Committee attempts to address this.

The report rightly says that migrants have the right to accurate information and advice. This is all the more true for very vulnerable people who are seeking asylum and have to navigate complex legal and welfare systems.

We welcome the recommendations about improving Scotland specific data on migration and about improving the UK Border Agency’s knowledge of devolved issues such as legal representation, health and education. We have long called for these things to happen in relation to asylum.

Trafficking in Scotland

The report acknowledges the hidden nature of trafficking in Scotland, especially in relation to the trafficking of children. We are pleased that the report acknowledges this, and acknowledges that work needs to be done to safeguard those who have been trafficked.

The report recommends that children should not be put through the National Referral Mechanism. Instead there should be a specialist child system to identify and protect children who have been trafficked.

Read the report on the Scottish Parliament website

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