In the House of Commons this week, Jo called on the Government to assist the Scottish Government in cracking down on sex trafficking around the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
A rise in numbers of women trafficked for sexual exploitation often occurs in the run up to international sporting events, and the Metropolitan Police are implementing special measures to tackle trafficking linked to the London Olympics in 2012. Jo urged the Government to share its expertise and any lessons learned in this process with the Scottish Government in advance of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.
Commenting, Jo said:
“Outside London, Glasgow has the most significant sex trafficking problem in the UK, and the Trafficking Awareness Raising Alliance has seen dramatic rises in the number of trafficked women in the city in the past year. It is well known that events such as the Commonwealth Games attract traffickers who bring women for sexual exploitation from West Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe.
“We are talking about women who are forced to work in brothels or sell themselves on the street, often on the threat violence from traffickers. The Metropolitan Police will no doubt learn a great deal about how to tackle this from the Olympics in 2012, and it is vital that they share that expertise with Scottish police ahead of the Commonwealth Games.”
The text of Jo’s question appears below:
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): TARA in Scotland has seen a dramatic rise in the number of sex-trafficked women seeking its help. Sadly, the experience of large sporting events shows that the 2014 Commonwealth games could bring many more. Will the Minister ensure that her Government work closely with the Holyrood Government to share the experiences of and lessons from tackling this problem at the Olympics, to ensure that we minimise this horrible crime during the Commonwealth games?
Ann McKechin: The hon. Lady raises a genuine issue of concern, a concern which I share. There is already close co-operation between those organising the Commonwealth games to be held in Glasgow and the Olympic games to be held in London, and I am sure that the lessons learned about how we tackle this problem will be followed by colleagues in Scotland.