Guidance launched for businesses on preventing human trafficking

Humza Yousaf

Practical guidance has been produced to help businesses identify and prevent human trafficking and exploitation across their operations.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has also announced he will write to all major Scottish companies who appear not to have met their duty to publish an annual statement outlining steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their business and supply chain.

Speaking at an Anti-Slavery Day conference hosted by the Scottish government and COSLA, Mr Yousaf said: “Human trafficking and exploitation prey on the most vulnerable in society. Often hidden in plain sight and in legitimate businesses, these offences are on the increase worldwide. Since our Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy was published in 2017 we have made significant progress but businesses need to understand the risks and tackle the conditions that foster these crimes.

“With investors increasingly focusing on human trafficking as a business risk, this is one issue that boards simply cannot afford to ignore. The guidance launched today offers practical advice for businesses of all sizes and I hope it will help more companies to identify and trafficking and exploitation across their operations, including in their supply chains.

“Our biggest firms must lead by example, ensuring they are not complicit in these horrendous crimes, and that is why I am writing to companies to demand urgent action.”

The guidance has been developed with advice from the Corporate Group established to support implementation of the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy. Its members include HSBCCo-op, Multiplex Construction, SSE and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).

Alison McGregor, CEO of HSBC Scotland, said: “Every business plays a critical role in supporting the eradication of Human Trafficking and helping those that have been affected by it and HSBC is proud to play its part. This guidance is an important new tool for all.”