A new report has claimed there were 55 potential victims of human trafficking in Scotland last year.
Almost a third (30%) of those involved experienced sexual exploitation followed by labour exploitation (14%) and criminal exploitation (9%).
Romania was the most common country of origin for victims in Scotland, with nine of them coming from the eastern European nation, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA) study.
Victims came from a total of 18 countries including Poland, Slovakia, Thailand, Vietnam, Ghana and Nigeria.
The NCA’s United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) estimates that 2,744 people, including 602 children, were potential victims of trafficking for exploitation across the UK in 2013.
This represents an increase of 22% on 2012.
Liam Vernon, head of the UKHTC, said: “Human trafficking for the purposes of exploitation is an insidious and complex crime, and much of the exploitation is hidden from view.
“The National Crime Agency is committed to continually disrupting what is a vicious and criminal trade in human misery, which exploits the most vulnerable people, both here and abroad, for financial gain.
“Victims are being forced to work in private houses and in hospitality, farming, manufacturing and construction industries. In many cases, threats and violence are used to ensure compliance.
“The NCA will continue to work closely with a range of partners to help eradicate this disturbing crime.”
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “Human trafficking is a heinous crime and has a devastating impact on its victims. We will do everything in our power to crack down on those who exploit people for forced labour, sex or domestic servitude.”