An elite team from Police Scotland have apprehended some young people from Vietnam as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal child trafficking in Edinburgh.
Police Scotland have spoken with young people and children from Vietnam over the weekend, two of whom were granted Place of Safety orders under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 earlier today.
The children are now being cared for by the City of Edinburgh Council who are currently meeting their needs while they establish the circumstances of the individuals involved.
An anonymous source indicates that the children were discovered as part of a police enquiry into child trafficking in the Lothians, and businesses run by Vietnamese nationals who were employing children in an attempt to lower costs.
The National Human Trafficking Team at Fettes has been in existence since January this year, and according to Police Scotland, 196 of its 397 referrals related to Vietnamese businesses, with 90 of those claiming to be under 18-years-old. The most recent police activity related to young people allegedly working in a cannabis farm.
Concerns arose when some of the people working within a business raided by the police became concerned over the presence of children within the workforce. Referrals were made in terms of Child Protection, with the welfare of the children present at the forefront of the investigation.
The issue of human trafficking from Vietnam became national news after the bodies of 39 people were found dead in the back of a transport truck in Essex earlier this year, with two of the bodies discovered being children under 16.
This morning, the alleged driver Maurice Robinson, 25, appeared at the Old Bailey via video link and pled guilty to plotting to assist illegal immigration.
The Scottish Government produced the ‘Inter-Agecy Guidance on Child Trafficking’ in 2013 for agencies to work together to address the increasing problem in Scotland. The focus for national and international development is prevention, protection and prosecution.
Anyone with information which could help Police Scotland with their enquiries should contact 101 for non-urgent enquiries, and the NSPCC phoneline for Child Protection concerns on 0808 8005000.
To donate to Barnardo’s, who take direct action to help victims of child trafficking, click here.