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31 October 2017, 06:22
New powers aimed at tackling suspected human traffickers have come into force.
Police can now apply to courts for a trafficking and exploitation risk order when they believe there is a risk someone may commit a trafficking or exploitation offence.
This means the suspect is effectively banned from a range of activity, with potential restrictions on movement within the UK or on internet use.
The orders have a fixed period of two years, with any breach treated as a criminal offence.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: "The exploitation of people - often those in vulnerable circumstances - is a deplorable act.
"While this crime is a worldwide problem, people should be under no illusion that it is happening across Scotland, and not just in our cities.
"We are tackling this crime by toughening the law and alerting the public through our awareness campaign.
"I launched Scotland's first strategy on human trafficking this year, which aims to identify and support victims, make Scotland a hostile environment for exploitation and disrupt traffickers' activity.
"The risk order should help us do that at the earliest possible opportunity."
The order completes the implementation of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015, granting authorities more powers to detect, prosecute and prevent exploitation.