Stage 1 Scrutiny by the Justice Committee
The Bill was introduced in the Parliament on 11 December 2014.
The Policy Memorandum states that "the overarching policy objectives of the Bill are to consolidate and strengthen the existing criminal law against human trafficking and the offence relating to slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and enhance the ststus of and support for victims". The Bill would:
- create a single offence of human trafficking for all forms of exploitation for adults and children;
- strengthen the current slavery, servitude and forced labour offence by allowing the court to consider, in assessing whether a person has bee a victim of an offence, the victim's characteristics such as age, physical or mental illness, disability or family relationships. The maximum penalty would be increased from 14 years to life imprisonment;
- establish statutory aggravations (a) to any criminal offence where it can be proved that the offence had a connection with a human trafficking background, and (b) where a human trafficking offence has been committed by a public official while acting, or purporting to act, in the course of the official's duties;
- place a duty on the Lord Advocate to publish guidance about the prosecution of credible trafficking victims who have committee offences;
- place a duty on the Scottish Ministers to secure the provision of relevant immediate support and recovery services for adult victims of trafficking;
- categorise all trafficking and exploitation offences as lifestyle offences in order to automatically trigger the confiscation procedures in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002;
- establish trafficking and exploitation prevention orders and risk orders;
- place a duty on the Scottish Ministers to prepare, publish and regularly review and update a trafficking and exploitation strategy to be laid before the Parliament; and
- place a duty on public bodies to provide anonymised date about potential human trafficking and exploitation victims to Police Scotland.
The Committee issued a call for written evidence, which closed on 24 February 2015.
The Committee took oral evidence at its meetings on 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 March 2015.
Work By Other Committees
The Committee published its Stage 1 report to the Parliament on 24 April 2015.
Consideration of the Bill at Stage 1 concluded with the debate in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 12 May 2015.