Cabin crew based at Glasgow Airport are being trained to spot potential victims among passengers.
It’s part of a Home Office crackdown which has seen Border Force teams set up at major airports.
Other airline staff will also be given specialist advice on how to identify victims.
Campaigners and politicians welcomed the move and urged other industries to give staff training on tackling the traffickers.
Jim Laird, a member of the Holyrood’s cross–party group on human trafficking, said:
“We know some air routes into the UK are used by traffickers so giving flight attendants this information makes them a vital tool in preventing this from happening.
“They’re in a great position to spot people who may be victims
and rescue them.” Jenny Marra, the Labour MSP who proposed the Human Trafficking Bill in Scotland, said: “The more people who can identify the signs of a trafficked person the better.
“But I also want our public and health services trained in this, and given the tools to
get victims the help they need. Hopefully with more people spotting victims, traffickers will find Scotland less attractive.”
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, added: “Victims of trafficking can face horrendous suffering, that’s why the Scottish Government is bringing in new laws designed to give them the strongest protection possible.
“We are also introducing new punishments which mean the criminals responsible for
exploiting them now face life imprisonment.
” Last year, 111 victims of trafficking
were recorded in Scotland – a 12 per cent increase from 2013.
They came from 26 different countries, including Nigeria, Vietnam, China and Romania and the majority were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Experts say the true figure is likely to be much higher because of the secretive nature of the crime.
One charity said the air crew training scheme would only be successful as part of a wider prevention plan.
Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, said: “To successfully tackle trafficking, the focus must always be on exploitation.
“Working with flight crews can be successful only if it’s a part of a much wider prevention system, for example informing migrants of their rights and places to turn for help.”