‘I‘ve done some volunteering for International Justice Mission (IJM) over the years, (awareness raising, fundraising, supporting their events) which increased my understanding of modern-day slavery abroad. But it was when I met Joy Gillespie, Development Manager with SOHTIS at an IJM event, that my eyes began to open to the slavery going on right here in Scotland.
“The main nationalities trafficked here in the UK are British men …” Joy told me and my mouth dropped open in shock.
“How can British men be trafficked?”
I realised that what little casual thought I had ever given to trafficking in the UK was some vague idea of perhaps eastern European people being affected and probably only in the south of England. I had also heard of Philippine men
working in slavery on fishing boats.
I really didn’t have a clue.
Luckily Joy is a gifted communicator and in a few swift sentences,
gently brought me up to speed.
It turns out that vulnerable British men, frequently homeless, often struggling with mental health problems and/or addictions, are readily and regularly
preyed on by traffickers right here in the UK.
Joy told me about the Miller McPhee case, where a group of men were held in slavery by members of the McPhee family. They were kept at a number of sites across Scotland, forced to do manual labour such as mono-blocking, slabbing and tree cutting, for long hours and kept in miserable conditions. Then they were ruthlessly hunted down and brought back to beatings and intimidation if they ran away. When finally caught by police and prosecuted the McPhee case became the first prosecution in Scotland under the
Human Trafficking & Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015.
And so began my education in the realities of trafficking and slavery right here in Scotland.
Volunteering with SOHTIS and IJM has taught me so much about this evil trade which spans the globe but it also gives me great hope that with such amazing organisations working here and abroad, this human misery can, must and will be stopped’.
Call to Action
SOHTIS believes everyone deserves to live in freedom with dignity and respect.
There are ways that we can all be involved in being part of the solution to human trafficking in Scotland. Some as simple as raising awareness by following SOHTIS on social media and sharing our posts or volunteering skills, linking us with useful networking contacts or donating funds.
Please get in touch to find out how you can join us in our support of survivors.