GLASGOW: Revelations that victims of human trafficking have been sold to Asian crime groups in Glasgow have been exposed as part of a report showing that it is now the second most lucrative criminal commodity after drugs. with labour and sexual exploitation the most common reasons for trafficking to Scotland. Investigative journalist Sam Poling went undercover for a BBC documentary entitled Humans For Sale, broadcast tonight at 9pm, to unveil the ruthless tactics used. She found many of the women trafficked are forced into sham marriages with men seeking to apply for residency in the UK. Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said Scotland is being specifically targeted by third country nationals, mainly men from Pakistan and India.
Angelika Molnar, who runs Europol’s human trafficking unit, said the victims are recruited by organised crime gangs before being sold to potential grooms. Speaking about one recent case she investigated, Molnar said: “The victims are lured with false promises of a well-paid job in Scotland and it’s only upon arrival that they are told there is no work available and they have to be engaged in marriages with Pakistani men. “After the marriage, they are kept under control by the traffickers and are exploited as domestic service by the husband, but also raped and sexually exploited by fellow nationals of the traffickers.” Poling travelled across Eastern Europe to track down victims sold to Glasgow gangs for sex, and discovered that one Slovakian girl has been trafficked to the city three times.
She also examined Scottish marriage records to look for red flags indicating sham marriages, such as young Eastern European brides, older Asian grooms, and the same addresses being used for multiple marriages yet with little sign of them living there. Dozens of such suspicious marriages were found in Scotland. Seventy of them were registered in Glasgow, and a third of those were in the Govanhill district. Forty per cent of those who married there just over five years ago – the cut-off for being granted a passport – are now divorced. Jim Laird, the former head of trafficking services at the charity Migrant Help, said: “There’s a high number of victims from the Govanhill area and that’s because there’s a clear link between Eastern European crime gangs, who have human trafficking as one of the things they do, and links with organised Asian crime gangs in Glasgow. “So the Estern European crime gangs will provide the victims, and the Asian crime gangs here will provide the accommodation, which is why there is quite a lot of it in Govanhill.”