Survivors of trafficking and modern slavery

Survivors of trafficking and modern slavery

All local authorities in Scotland will require to protect and assist victims of human trafficking, some of whom will also be subject to immigration control and may therefore also require accommodation and support.

This chapter sets out what local authorities must consider when they suspect a child or adult may be a victim of human trafficking or slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour, and when a confirmed victim who has NRPF requires accommodation or support.  

Key points 

  • Local authority duties towards survivors of human trafficking or modern slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour who require support are the same as for any other vulnerable adults or families with children who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), however, there are some additional considerations which need to be taken into account.
  • Some survivors may choose to enter the National Referral Mechanism identification framework, which will also provide access for a temporary period of time to an alternate statutory form of support, funded advice and guidance, and may be able to go onto apply for discretionary leave to remain. Adults will need to consent to be referred to this form of support. Consent is not required if the potential victim is a child.  
  • Child survivors of trafficking should be referred to the Scottish Guardianship Service (SGS) who can provide independent advice, information and advocacy. 
  • The local authority will need to provide accommodation and support under Section 25 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 to unaccompanied children who have been trafficked.
  • For adult victims of trafficking who have NRPF, the local authority’s protection duties may be engaged and a community care assessment may be required when a survivor appears to be in need of social care assistance, which may include accommodation and financial support where this is not available through the NRM.
  • To achieve best practice in working with victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, there are some key considerations that local authorities should take into account including: the safety and suitability of accommodation, awareness of the effects of trauma, and the need to safeguard the person’s decision making and communications.