Escaped trafficking victim found in Dunblane street

At around 10.55pm on Monday September 13, the woman stopped a member of the public in Cockburn Avenue. Picture: Google
At around 10.55pm on Monday September 13, the woman stopped a member of the public in Cockburn Avenue. Picture: Google
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A human trafficking victim was found in a distressed state in the street after escaping from where she was being held by walking along a major road.

The 21-year-old Vietnamese woman sought help from a member of the public in a residential street in Dunblane at about 10:55pm on 13 September.

She was said to be in a “distressed state,” so police were called.

Police Scotland said the woman was a victim of human trafficking who had managed to escape from where she was being housed. It is thought she may have come from rural Tayside and walked along the side of the A9 trunk road.

Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Thacker said: “At the moment, we are continuing to liaise with the young woman as to her ordeal and try to establish a more definitive location as to where she has fled from.

“As such, we are focussing our attention on the A9 area and would be eager to hear from anyone who remembers seeing a lone female walking in a distressed state in the hours before 10:55pm on 13 September. “Similarly, anyone with any other relevant information should also contact police immediately.”

He added: “At this time there is nothing to suggest Dunblane itself is central to this inquiry, nor have we identified any other victims from the region.

“However, it’s essential we identify those responsible to establish if any other individuals require our assistance.”

Under legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2015, anyone found to be involved in human trafficking faces a life 
sentence.

Earlier this year the charity Unseen said nearly 300 potential victims of trafficking and exploitation had been identified in Scotland in just 18 months.

It said around 60 per cent of cases involved forced labour, while about one in five related to ­sexual exploitation.

Unseen said it had received 172 calls and 34 online reports to its helpline between its launch in October 2016 and the end of March 2018.

The reports related to 82 cases involving 297 potential victims of trafficking and exploitation.

Ten women under the age of 25 were rescued earlier this month after police targeted a number of brothels in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

It followed intelligence that a Romanian gang was trafficking women to Scotland for 
sex.

A man, 29, and woman aged 30 were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking in Tollcross, Glasgow.

Speaking at the time, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “People are trafficked for a variety of purposes, including commercial sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, forced criminality and domestic servitude – all for the profit or personal gain of the traffickers.

“They are often trafficked across international borders, but also within Scotland.”