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#minorsextrafficking | Swift checks needed on slavery suspects | Scotland

Scotland’s most senior law officer has written to the Home Office to urge high-ranking civil servants to accelerate the checks made to determine whether children suspected of crimes such as working on drug farms may actually be victims of human trafficking.

Dorothy Bain, the lord advocate, has raised concerns with Whitehall because Scottish prosecutors are currently forced to pursue young people who may be in the clutches of criminal gangs because the Home Office takes months to verify their status.

Writing in The Times today, Bain’s deputy Ruth Charteris QC, the solicitor-general for Scotland, says there is a strong presumption against prosecuting young children who have been forced into criminality but UK bureaucracy means they cannot easily discern between criminals and victims.

Victims of human

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