What is Modern Slavery?
The definition of human trafficking is contained in the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children.
“Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs… The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth [above] shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth [above] have been used.
Legislative History of People Trafficking
Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits slavery, servitude and forced labour but exempts labour:
- done as a normal part of imprisonment,
- in the form of compulsory military service or work done as an alternative by conscientious objectors,
- required to be done during a state of emergency, and
- considered to be a part of a person’s normal “civic obligations”.
Prosecutions can be brought the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004. Where an individual is forced into the sex industry or bonded labour the prosecution can be brought under the .
Offences and Penalties under the Modern Slavery Act
- Section 1: Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. Consent by the victim does not preclude the offence having taken place. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment
- Section 2: Human Trafficking. This includes sexual and non-sexual exploitation of victims. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
- Section 3: Meaning of exploitation. Includes human trafficking for the removal of organs, securing services by force, threats or deception and securing services from children and vulnerable people.
- Section 4: Committing offences with intent to commit offences in Section 2. An example of this is D commits an offence of theft of a motor vehicle and transports V in that vehicle for trafficking. This includes aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring an offence under that section.
- Part 2 of the Act creates two new civil preventative orders – Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order (STPO) & Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order (STRO).
- Part 5 provides measures to support and protect victims. Statutory defences are available for victims who commit crime as a direct result of their slavery or trafficking situation. The Crown Prosecution Service applies set criteria when deciding whether to prosecute a victim.
- Part 6 requires commercial organisations (below a certain size) that carry out business or those supplying goods and services in the UK to publish a Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement at the end of each financial year.
Modern Slavery and Confiscation Proceedings
Many offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 like those under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 are ‘lifestyle offences’ under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2003 and attract confiscation proceedings upon conviction.
Olliers Solicitors – Specialist Criminal Defence
If you need to discuss an allegation of people trafficking or require assistance with a Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement contact Matthew Claughton on 0161 827 7010 or Joanne Tang or 0161 8341515.