Trafficking victims in Falkirk ‘hidden in plain sight’

Falkirk firms are being warned to stay alert to the signs of human trafficking amid fears that Brexit could lead to an upsurge of exploitation and abuse.

By Roy Beers
Friday, 23rd August 2019, 1:50 pm
In this 2017 exercise in Falkirk High Street free manicures were given out to shoppers in  to highlight that human trafficking is happening close to home.
Falkirk was named on  list of 27 locations in Scotland where victims of the degrading crime have been identified.
In this 2017 exercise in Falkirk High Street free manicures were given out to shoppers in to highlight that human trafficking is happening close to home. Falkirk was named on list of 27 locations in Scotland where victims of the degrading crime have been identified.

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre says a decline in the migrant workforce could spark an increase in trafficking to fill the gaps.

Campaigns have previously made the point that trafficking is not restricted to cities, and several harrowing cases have been highlighted in Falkirk over recent years.

SBRC’s crime spokesman, David MacCrimmon, said: “Victims of human trafficking are often hidden in plain view, and there are many examples of that, whether it has been cases of cleaners in large office blocks, workers in hand car washes in our towns and cities, or those working on our high streets in nail bars and other shops.”

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Figures released earlier this year showed that 692 human trafficking crimes were detected by police across Scotland since 2015.

However despite a 42 per cent increase in trafficking related referrals from 2016 to 2018 a survey from the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy revealed that over half of people do not believe it’s an issue in their local area.

David MacCrimmon said: “Sometimes victims of trafficking are moved about from place to place in cars, vans and trucks, but often this is done in plain sight too.

“Many victims of trafficking can simply be told to go from one destination to another by bus or train.

“They are often given tickets to do so, and frequently there will be someone to meet them at the other end, to take control of them.

“This control can be through fear and intimidation, through threats of violence or actual violence, or simply as part of a debt”.

He added: “If you see someone that you feel may be the victim of human trafficking, someone who is displaying the signs of being a victim, report it to the police immediately.

“Human trafficking is not just a crime, it’s a human rights violation, and we need to do our bit to support the victims.”