Scotland’s health staff to receive training to identify human trafficking victims

The new guidance is designed to help staff spot patients who may be victims of human trafficking or exploitation.Picture: PA
The new guidance is designed to help staff spot patients who may be victims of human trafficking or exploitation.Picture: PA
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Health workers in Scotland are to be given new guidance to help them spot patients who may be victims of human trafficking or exploitation.

The updated guidelines for front-line staff will include advice on what action they should take if they have concerns about a patient.

The move comes following a large increase in the number of victims of human trafficking and exploitation in Scotland.

Figures show that in the first six months of 2019, 188 victims were identified - a 74% rise on the same period last year.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Any form of human trafficking or exploitation is completely unacceptable in 21st century Scotland.

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“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.”

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