Human trafficking

Human trafficking is when a person is moved from their home and exploited. This could be from within the UK or from abroad. This usually happens through the use of threat or force.

Human trafficking is a serious organised crime. It is a type of harm and it can take many forms. The person may believe they are in a relationship with their trafficker.

Contact Social Care Direct if you think a child or adult has been trafficked. Call 999 in an emergency.

Download our protocol for dealing with human trafficking below.

Signs of trafficking

A trafficked person is unlikely to be well looked after and may

  • be hungry, tired, dirty and frightened
  • not go to school or work all of the time or at all
  • run away regularly to escape their trafficker
  • be isolated and have no freedom
  • suffer threats or show signs of physical harm
  • be scared to talk to others.

People may be trafficked for

  • sexual exploitation
  • forced labour in low skilled work
  • domestic work
  • the carrying or dealing of drugs or petty criminal activity, like begging
  • benefit fraud
  • forced marriage.

Protocol for professionals

Our multi-agency support protocol for victims of human trafficking helps staff ensure victims are identified and receive protection and support.

We created this with partners in

  • Police Scotland
  • NHS Lothian
  • the voluntary sector.

Download the multi-agency support protocol for victims of human trafficking