As human trafficking rises in Scotland the evidence shows that ethnic minority groups and non-native English speakers are at increased risk of exploitation. It is crucial therefore that teachers, volunteers, and community groups involved in delivering English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programmes, understand the unique contribution they can make in supporting trafficked victims and survivors within their classrooms.
ESOL teachers have a respected and trusted role in assisting students adjust to life in Scotland, often becoming more familiar with their lives and struggles than any other professional. This puts them in a unique position to identify trafficking issues and offer guidance. It is, however, vital that they also understand their role as those who empower students to help themselves.
Survivors of trafficking have significant and complex needs and if they are to avoid re-trafficking they require specialist support. Non-native English speakers are one of the groups most at risk of trafficking and exploitation in Scotland and ESOL teachers are therefore most likely to encounter survivors in their classrooms. This can present barriers to learning, challenging behaviour and classroom dynamics but also opportunities for healing, positive futures.
We are committed to developing and delivering quality CPD workshops and lesson plans which will support ESOL teachers and their students. These aim to give teachers confidence to spot the signs of human trafficking and know how to report concerns. They also provide tools and trauma informed teaching techniques for working with victims and survivors which avoid triggers and build hope. Our lesson plans are developed for low level English speakers but are easily adaptable for higher level learners, they provide opportunities to learn appropriate vocabulary, know how to recognise exploitation and how to access help.
I was very fortunate to attend a training session delivered by SOHTIS recently. The training was ever so helpful at investigating what is a tricky and often difficult topic to talk about. The practical session meant I came away feeling equipped with the knowledge and confidence that I would know what do if I suspected one of my learners was a victim of human trafficking. They were knowledgeable, yet practical, and offered valuable insights into this ‘hidden’ crime. Thank you!
Pauline Blake-Johnson Chair, NATECLA Scotland
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ESOL teachers who attended a workshop recently commented:
Really shocking and thought provoking – really needed!
Thank you. Very thought – provoking. I often hear that we work with vulnerable people – this made it very real.
Great workshop. Informative, very useful – good to be reminded that this is happening even in Scotland.
Surprised that I haven’t attended workshop on this theme – EVER!
If you have suspicions regarding anyone who may be affected by human trafficking or modern slavery take a few minutes to report what you know to the Modern Slavery Helpline 08000 121 700. You can do this anonymously.
In an emergency always call 999.