Ministerial Question: First Annual Progress Report on Human Trafficking

Yesterday I asked the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP,  if the Scottish Government’s First Annual Progress Report on Human Trafficking acknowledges the influence of organised crime groups in human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation and what the Scottish Government can do to combat this. I was encouraged to hear that the report recognises this and that this is a key focus of both the Scottish Government and Police Scotland in both enforcement and prevention actions taken forward.

Ash Denham MSP backs support for carers ahead of Carers Week

SNP MSP for Edinburgh Eastern Ash Denham has pledged her backing for Carers Week, which begins next Monday, by committing to support local carers across Edinburgh.

Ash Denham has signed up to the Carers Week pledge to take carer friendly action – highlighting the tireless work of the 6.5 million unpaid carers across the UK and offering them any support they need. There are an estimated 788,000 unpaid carers across Scotland – with 44,000 of them under the age of 18.

The Scottish Government has taken decisive action to support unpaid carers – investing over £135 million in a range of programmes and initiatives to support carers and young carers, as well as passing a new Carers Act, which has come into force this year, which extends the rights of carers and ensures better support.

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MSP commends Castlebrae High School students on release of charity track

THE CASTLE KIDZ RELEASE SINGLE “JUST BE YOU”

Students from Castlebrae High School today released their new charity single, “Just Be You”, written and performed as part of a partnership project between Castlebrae High School and Drake Music Scotland.

The pupils are part of the ‘Nurture Group’ at Castlebrae High School, which means they have been identified as needing extra support, and the theme of the song focuses on respect and embracing individuality.

The students performed their single for the very first time earlier this month at the Drake Music Scotland 20th Anniversary Concert at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh in front of an audience of 800.

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Portfolio Question: Update on negotiations with the EU

Yesterday I asked the Scottish Government to  provide an update on its negotiations with the EU, following the First Minister’s recent meeting with Michel Barnier. It is clear that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit outcome would be catastrophic for Scotland. While the UK Government continues to be helplessly confused, the Scottish Government has been clear all along – Scotland and the UK must remain in the EU Single Market and Customs Union to safeguard the economy, jobs and people’s livelihoods.

#CitizenGirl Initiative

Yesterday I spoke in the #CitizenGirl Initiative debate, celebrating the partnership programme of GirlGuiding Scotland and Women 5050. I am delighted to see the Citizen Girl Initiative encouraging girls and young women to use their voices to enact change in Scotland, creating the leaders and the world changers of tomorrow.

MSP commends new investment in NHS diagnosis and care in Lothian

£50M TO SUPPORT TREATMENT ACROSS SCOTLAND

The NHS in Edinburgh is set to receive a share of a £50 million Scotland-wide investment to help deliver swift treatment and diagnostics.

The extra funding is part of a package of measures to help reduce waiting times – and which will also see two independent diagnostic leads appointed to improve co-ordination across the country on specialist tests.

Scotland already invests more per head of population than anywhere else in the UK. Tory-led England and Labour-led Wales continue to lag behind Scotland, including on A&E waiting times where Scotland has had the lowest waiting times for over 3 years.

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MSP commends Unicef- Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Partnership

Ash Denham MSP last night sponsored an event celebrating the four-year anniversary of the Unicef and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games partnership at the Scottish Parliament.

Speaking at the event, Ash Denham commended the collaboration and celebrated the achievements of the partnership, which was first announced at Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games with the ambition to Put Children First.

In its four years, the partnership has raised £6.5 million, funding programmes in all 52 Commonwealth countries, and has reached 11.7 million children, including 540,000 in Scotland.

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Ash Denham: Current laws failing victims of sex trafficking

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade has released an inquiry report into sex trafficking which has highlighted “industrial scale” sexual exploitation in ‘pop up’ brothels facilitated by online websites.

The report detailed the links between sexual exploitation and organised crime, with the majority of brothels recorded as being connected to other brothels, agencies or non-UK Organised Crime Groups.

The UK’s current laws make it a “highly profitable and low risk” destination for sex traffickers and other third party enablers of sexual exploitation, the report explains.

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