A DISTRESSED Vietnamese teenager walked into Musselburgh Police Station claiming he was the victim of human trafficking.

In what is believed to be the first reported case of its kind in East Lothian, the youth told police he had been brought into the country and forced to work on a cannabis farm.

The teenager is now being cared for by East Lothian Council as his claims are investigated.

The council said the case was “very unusual” but said social work officers were working with police and other agencies to establish the situation.

The incident came to light at a meeting of Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council last week when a community police officer included it in his report.

He told community councillors the 14-year-old alleged he had been forced to work at a cannabis cultivation at an unknown location.

The officer added: “I don’t think it’s Musselburgh but to be honest it could be anywhere. Specialist officers are dealing with that just now. Further enquiries are ongoing to determine the full extent of the claim.”

The council said such a case would bring in a wide range of support agencies.

Age determination would be carried out to establish whether the individual was under 16 and needed to be a ‘looked-after’ person – if over-16 they would have to apply, if they wanted, to immigration to remain in the country.

Last month the Scottish Government released a map of where cases of human trafficking had been discovered across Scotland over the last five years in a bid to raise awareness that it was happening not just in cities but in smaller rural communities.

The list revealed 27 of 32 local authorities had reported cases; however, it did not include any cases in East Lothian.

Justice secretary Michael Matheson MSP said human trafficking was “an appalling abuse of human rights”.

Police Scotland confirmed it was investigating the case.

A police spokesperson said: “Police in East Lothian are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding a male attending Musselburgh Police Station on August 21. Officers are working with East Lothian Council to ensure his welfare and establish if he has been the victim of any criminality.”

Earlier this year a BBC documentary looking into the prevalence of human trafficking in Scotland described it as the most lucrative criminal commodity after drugs.

A council spokesperson said: “This is very unusual for a young individual to present themselves as being a victim of trafficking.

“The council’s social work team works closely with partners and police to offer support and appropriate care to any such individual.”