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Report human trafficking

This advice applies to Scotland

Human trafficking is the trade of people for exploitation and commercial gain.

If you think someone has been trafficked, you can help make them safe.

If you suspect human trafficking, call the police. Call 999 if it’s an emergency, or 101 if it’s not urgent.

If you’d prefer to stay anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you don’t want to call the police, you can talk to a charity anonymously.

Identify human trafficking

Human trafficking doesn’t just happen in the sex industry. People are exploited in construction, farming and even working in other people’s homes.

Usually people who have been trafficked are:

  • lied to about what a job involves
  • brought from another country (but people can also be trafficked within the UK) 
  • forced to work 
  • monitored very closely by whoever they work for

Because people are trafficked to work for very little pay, or none at all, it’s sometimes called ‘modern day slavery’ or labour ‘exploitation’.

Signs of human trafficking

All trafficking cases are different, but there are common signs. A victim of trafficking might:

  • have a lack of freedom
  • work for very little or no pay
  • seem to be in debt to someone
  • live in fear of someone, or even the authorities
  • have signs of physical abuse, like cuts and bruises
  • move location regularly

Children can be trafficked too. They will share many common signs with adult victims, but may stand out from other children because:

  • they have money or possessions that they can’t account for
  • they don’t seem to live with parents or guardians 
  • they’re emotionally unstable, eg aggressive, withdrawn or anxious

More about spotting the potential signs of human trafficking can be found on the Modern Slavery Foundation's website 

Get advice

If you want confidential advice about trafficking before calling the police, there are a number of specialist organisations you can talk to. You can contact:

If you want to talk to someone face-to-face, your local Citizens Advice can help you decide what to do next.

What happens after you report trafficking

The first thing the police will do is protect someone who has been trafficked from anyone that might harm them.

The police and specialist organisations will work together to provide the victim with practical and emotional support. They’ll get medical care and help arranging accommodation in safe place, away from their traffickers.

If it’s safe, they’ll be helped to return to their home country. If it’s not safe to return, perhaps because they might be trafficked again, they can apply for asylum in the UK.

Support for people who’ve been trafficked in Scotland

The Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA) is funded by the government to support women who are over 18 and have been trafficked for sexual exploitation. They can offer safe accommodation and services such as counselling, legal advice and healthcare.

Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance (TARA)
Telephone: 0141 276 7724
Monday to Friday, 9.30 to 5pm, answering machine 24/7 Website: 

Support for victims of trafficking in all languages

Migrant Help provides support for victims of human trafficking in all languages. This support includes secure accommodation, emergency medical treatment, family reunification and help moving forward with life in the UK should the victim stay in the UK.

Migrant Help
Telephone: 0141 884 7900
Out of office hours: 0776 668 781

See MyGov.Scot for more about your rights if you've been trafficked. 

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