Church minister condemns 'repugnant' trafficking of children

The Rev Ian Galloway, the Convenor of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, said it was "repugnant" that children were being used as sex slaves in Scotland.

His comments follow the publication of a report from the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People on child sex trafficking in Scotland.

The report says that at least 80 children may have been trafficked into Scotland for sexual or other exploitation without anyone being convicted for the crimes.

Children trafficked to Scotland may be sexually abused, or used as forced labour or domestic servants.

Some of the victims have come from thousands of miles away, trafficked from the likes of China, Vietnam or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Writing in his Blog, the Rev Ian Galloway said: “The fact that dozens of children are being used as sex slaves in our cities, towns and neighbourhoods is utterly repugnant.

"This should be a call to action for everyone in Scotland. How can we let this happen?”

The report calls upon on the UK Government to improve inter-agency co-operation and to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.

The report also calls for the appointment of an independent child trafficking rapporteur and recommends that the Scottish Government ensures that local authorities are resourced to tackle child exploitation at the local level.

Mr Galloway said: “This issue is one that the Church of Scotland Guild has been concerned about for some time.

"I will be writing to the Home Secretary of the UK Government and the Justice Secretary in the Scottish Government asking that they urgently take action on these recommendations.

"It is up to everyone to speak up on behalf of those whose voices have been silenced.”