Human trafficking: support

Last updated: 22 August 2017

Human trafficking is a serious crime. (In England and Wales it's called modern slavery).

It's when someone is bought or sold by people who are going to exploit them. It can also be when someone is recruited or moved so they can be exploited.

Victims can be men, women or children of any nationality.

There's help available for victims.

Contacting the police

Call 999 if it's an emergency. For non-emergencies, call 101.

If you're a victim of human trafficking and you speak to the police, they will:

  • talk to you about what has happened
  • offer you protection from those that hurt you
  • start an investigation
  • keep you informed
You're entitled to say whether you'd prefer to be interviewed by a male or female officer.

If you don't want to contact the police

You can contact the Modern Slavery Helpline on 0800 0121 700 or fill out the Modern Slavery Helpline online form. An advisor will read your message within 24 hours and decide what should happen next.

Find out about call charges

Your rights

You may feel scared, powerless and alone. But help is available to you.

The National Referral Mechanism process helps identify victims of human trafficking and exploitation.

If you agree to be a part of this process, you have a right to:

  • a minimum recovery and reflection period of 45 days (soon to be 90 days), with help from support services
  • support if you decide to talk to the police
  • independent emotional, medical and practical help
  • help finding temporary safe accommodation
  • help with medical treatment
  • someone to help you cope with your experience
  • an interpreter or translator to help you communicate in English, if needed
  • protection – human trafficking is a crime and, if you chose to report it to the police, they must respond
  • independent legal advice
Non-British or European Economic Area Nationals won't be removed from the UK during the recovery and reflection period. If you're identified as a victim of trafficking, you may be considered for a temporary residence permit. If you're not British or from the European Economic Area (and don't have a right to remain in the UK) then you will be assisted to return to your home country, if it's safe to do so.

Extra support at court

If you're a victim of human trafficking and you're asked to give evidence at court, you'll be entitled to use special measures like:

  • giving evidence via a live TV link
  • screens to stop you having to see someone else involved with the case
  • a supporter staying with you while you give evidence

You will not automatically be able to use special measures if you are a victim of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. This means being forced to work for little or no pay in conditions that mean you can't escape. But you are entitled to apply to the court for special measures.

Other support services

Community Safety Glasgow – The TARA Service Phone: 0141 276 7724 (24 hours a day) Identifies and supports women (over 18) who have been trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. It works with other organisations to provide comprehensive, individual need and risk assessments. Staff can support you to report to the police or can pass on anonymised information for you.

Migrant Help Phone: 0141 884 7900 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm). 0141 212 8553 (Out of hours) Email: scotland@migranthelpuk.org You can call the Migrant Help anti-trafficking helpline for confidential help and advice if you, or someone you know has been trafficked, is over 18 and is not a woman involved in commercial sexual exploitation.

ChildLine Phone: 0800 1111 (24 hours a day) ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything – no problem is too big or small.

Claiming compensation

You can get advice from Victim Support Scotland, your legal advisor, or a Citizen's Advice Bureau about any compensation you may be able to claim as a victim of human trafficking. If you have a support worker, they can help you get this advice.