Human trafficking guidance for health workers published
Health workers will be given new guidance to help them identify signs of human trafficking and exploitation among patients.
The guidelines include advice to help frontline health professionals know what action to take if they have concerns.
More victims of human trafficking and exploitation are being identified in Scotland than ever before. In the first six months of 2019, 188 victims have been identified – a 74 per cent increase on the same period last year.
Given the health risks associated with forced labour and sexual exploitation, NHS staff are in an ideal position to spot and support victims.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Any form of human trafficking or exploitation is completely unacceptable in 21st century Scotland.
“Victims of trafficking and exploitation can be severely traumatised by their experiences and can find it extremely challenging to share their fears. They may also be distrustful or anxious about contact with authorities.
“While many healthcare workers may be unfamiliar with indicators of human trafficking and exploitation, practitioners have a unique and vital opportunity to manage individuals who may otherwise attempt to avoid services.
“This guidance is intended to support healthcare workers in recognising and responding appropriately to victims of this abhorrent crime.”