Marlyn Glen MSP
Speech in the Scottish Parliament
Migration and Trafficking
23 February 2011
It was over a year ago that the Equal Opportunities Committee decided to hold an inquiry into migration and trafficking.
During the inquiry we heard from more than 50 witnesses at 11 meetings and took evidence from 25 migrants, who had come to Scotland from all over the world.
We have published a report that runs to more than 150 pages and reached more than140 conclusions.
Despite that, we agree that we have probably only scratched the surface;
these are truly huge issues.
As we have heard, the Equality and Human Rights Commission is undertaking an inquiry into human trafficking.
Also, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People has commissioned research into the prevalence and nature of child trafficking.
It will be published next month.
We therefore suggest that our successor committee might want to take further
evidence on those issues as an important follow-up in the next session of
We hope that it will help make a difference.
Given what we heard in evidence, we hope that it will help bring people round the table to work together, because, unfortunately, it is clear that there are barriers to effective working between levels of government and agencies on both issues.
A lack of concerted effort and co-operation has an impact not only on individual migrants and the victims of trafficking but on our society as a whole.
I welcome the cabinet secretary’s recognition of the importance of
At the moment, many migrants are floundering because the services are not in place.
They tend to find out things from their local communities, because they do
not know where else to turn.
Despite that, we are turning many away because we do not accept the qualifications that they already have.
Migrants therefore take unskilled jobs or they take their skills and
experience elsewhere, and Scotland is put at an economic disadvantage.
There needs to be much better engagement to ensure that the most accurate and
up-to-date information is available, so that Scotland is best placed to address
We agreed with much of the report, especially in relation to the national
referral mechanism, on which we have made a number of recommendations.
Scotland must be able to provide appropriate services, which should include
the provision of 24-hour residential services and the availability of
translation and legal representation.
We hope to see progress on that in the near future.
I sincerely hope that it will help to eliminate some of the myths about migration.
As Christina McKelvie said, we politicians have a responsibility to ensure that people are aware of the facts and of the positive contributions that migrants make to our economy and our society.
We need to be aware of the issues and the facts, so that we can help and not
We need to ensure that we have the penalties and procedures in place to act
as a deterrent, and we need the UK Government and its agencies to co-operate
I sincerely hope that it helps to make a difference to people’s lives.