Officers in Falkirk tackling the problem of human trafficking

Suzanne Arkinson, manager Howgate Shopping Centre backs Police Scotland's campaign to end modern slavery by displaying poster in the centre with Inspector Chris Stewart and Constable Laura Christie
Suzanne Arkinson, manager Howgate Shopping Centre backs Police Scotland's campaign to end modern slavery by displaying poster in the centre with Inspector Chris Stewart and Constable Laura Christie

Police visited business across Falkirk and Forth Valley in a bid to raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking.

Visits were carried out to 15 premises, including takeaways, car washes and food producers where officers spoke to owners and staff, giving them advice about how to report any concerns and the support available to victims.

Inspector Chris Stewart and Constable Laura Christie from Falkirk police office were handing out leaflets at several Falkirk businesses, including in the Howgate shopping centre, where the met with manager Suzanne Arkinson who is supporting the initiative.

One woman was arrested by immigration officers at a business premises in Stirling and was taken to a holding centre pending interview.

Their calls were part of a Scotland-wide operation which saw dozens of premises receiving visits from Police Scotland officers were supported by colleagues from HM Revenue and Customs, Immigration Enforcement, British Transport Police and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.

During the multi-agency operation a child aged 15, who displayed indicators of trafficking, was found working in a nailbar.

Detective Inspector Nigel Thacker of the Forth Valley Public Protection Unit, said: “Our action was about highlighting and raising awareness of human trafficking which is happening in communities across Scotland now. We know that people are being trafficked into and around Scotland on a daily basis for the purpose of labour or sexual exploitation.

“Tackling trafficking is a priority for Police Scotland and we will use all of the means at our disposal to tackle trafficking and those who seek to enslave others. This includes working with partners and across national and international borders.

“I would encourage people to be aware of what is happening in their community, to have social and ethical awareness, and to report concerns that someone may be a victim of trafficking to Police Scotland.”