Scots media recognised for its reporting of human trafficking

THE media in Scotland focused on two major stories concerning human trafficking during July, according to a new report.

An analysis of articles in various forms of media by Fife-based freelance journalist, Billy Briggs, found there were 258 articles published by the British and Irish media on trafficking during July. He was commissioned by the intelligence gatherers, LexisNexis UK, who produce the monthly Human Trafficking Awareness Index (HTA Index), an information tool to help anti-trafficking campaigners.

The first case that the Scots media reported – including the Daily Record on July 31 – involved a Glasgow man who was deported from Thailand after being suspected of running an international human trafficking operation.

The other story was of a convicted sex trafficker, from Clydebank, who’d been ordered to pay £45,000 under Proceeds of Crime legislation, after admitting moving 14 people around various addresses in the UK to work as prostitutes. He was jailed for three years and four months. His co-accused, from Edinburgh, was jailed for a year-and-a-half.

The HTA Index report included analysis of media coverage of trafficking around the London Olympics. Analysis showed that up to the end of July 2012, there were 171 stories globally regarding trafficking and sporting events. These included reports on a campaign against human trafficking which was held against an Olympic backdrop. Various media reported on the Gift Box campaign that aimed to raise awareness of human trafficking.

The role of celebrity advocacy was also analysed as there has been debate recently about whether or not famous people help or hinder causes through their intervention.

The HTA Index revealed that testimony from actress, Jada Pinkett Smith, before US Congress in July, was picked up by 44 media, globally. Most of the reports were in the entertainment sections of American publications but both the MailOnline and the Evening Standard in Britain and The Advertiser in Australia reported on her advocacy.

The actress testified during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that she plans to launch a campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking and slavery. She called for an extension of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which provides funding to combat trafficking and help trafficking victims.

Briggs said: “There’s been debate about the role of celebrities and while the HTA Index cannot say whether or not their advocacy is beneficial, it does show that their intervention prompts media reports.”