SCOTTISH landlords and letting agents are being called on to help tackle trafficking and modern day slavery.
Many of those trafficked into the country are often housed in rented accommodation.
When they arrive some are trapped into a job, which could involve illegal activity and prostitution, and paid a meagre wage which is then taken to pay for housing and living costs.
Concerned Llndlords and letting agents are being urged contact the Police on the 101 if they are suspicious of a property that could be housing trafficked individuals.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) is a partner in the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce in Scotland, assisting Police with efforts to tackle illegal trade.
Director of the SBRC, Mandy Haeburn-Little, said: “The sad fact is that all the individuals trafficked into Scotland must live somewhere.
“It can be a particularly difficult problem to monitor, as any application for tenancy will only mention a few names, whereas in reality, properties can be overcrowded with trafficked workers.
“A landlord’s suspicions can arise from anywhere and information passed on could help Police with the final piece in a jigsaw on a suspect residing in that property.
“It is of course in the best interests of the landlord that this is tackled, both ethically and for the future use of the property.”
The warning comes as part of a crackdown, which included the recent high profile case of Shamsul Arefin.
Arefin trafficked four men from Bangladesh to Argyll and entrapped them as modern day slaves, working in the Stewart Hotel near Appin.
Earlier this month he was sentenced to three years in jail, taking the total Human Trafficking convictions in Scotland to four for the year, with 12 cases pending.
Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Gilfillan, Police Scotland’s Human Trafficking Unit, said: “Trafficked people are forced to work in a number of ways including in hotels, as we saw recently, in cannabis cultivations, in nail-bars or in prostitution.
“Often they are hidden from view of the general public. They are vulnerable and they are at risk of harm.
“Many of our recent investigations involve people forced into sex work, most of which now takes place off street in flats and houses, the majority of which are rented.
“A significant amount of work has been undertaken, both nationally and locally, to improve understanding of trafficking within Scotland and in relation to the ‘journey’ of a victim, it is clear to us that privately rented flats feature consistently, either as a place victims are placed or worse, exploited.
“It is important that businesses involved in letting out flats are aware that not only is Human Trafficking prevalent within Scotland but is significantly aligned to organised crime gangs where people are exploited for profit and power.”