Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

The Modern Slavery Act of 2015 is the first legislative structure that specifically speaks about human trafficking and slavery in the 21st century. The offences under this act are extremely serious and complex and end up as prison sentences if convicted. The National Crime Agency’s top priority is to finish modern slavery when it comes to dealing with organised crime. Seek specialist legal advice at the earliest possible to ensure the best possible outcome for yourself. Royce Legal Solicitors has the right advisors with the necessary expertise to defend your case.

What Is Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery?

The Palermo Protocol is the first international recognition for the definition of human trafficking. Human trafficking offences involve adults (specifically women and children) who are seen as vulnerable individuals to exploit them for modern slavery, sex trade, false marriages and organ donors.

Similarly, modern slavery refers to human trafficking for slavery, servitude and coerced or obligatory labour.

Human Trafficking has been covered under various laws as listed below:

  • The Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 – trafficking people for exploitative reasons.
  • The Immigration Act 1971- assisting or facilitating unlawful immigration.
  • The Modern Slavery Act 2015.
  • The Human Rights Act 199 – the trafficked individual is considered exploited if his human rights are breached.

Human trafficking charges are applied to those that agree on transporting migrants into the UK in transportations. Penalties involve lifelong prison sentences.


Offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Act covers the following offence:

Slavery, Servitude and Forced or Compulsory Labour

It includes:

  • When a person is held in slavery or servitude by another person(s).
  • The victim is required to do forced or compulsory labour.
  • The offenders are aware that the victim is held in slavery and servitude and is coerced to perform compulsory labour.

Human Trafficking

It includes:

  • Arrangement and facilitation of travel of individuals with the intent to exploit them
  • The victim may be travelling with or without consent.
  • The travel is across countries or within the country.

Examples of Slavery and Human Trafficking Offences

  • Prostitution – forms of sexual exploitation of women or young individuals. Individuals are lured on false promises of better livelihood.
  • Slavery – people are moved from place to place often under the influence of drugs to control them. Victims are forced to call their families for ransom.
  • Forced labour, labour exploitation, or forced services – often linked to debt to traffickers. Work involves construction, service, agriculture or entertainment.
  • Servitude – domestic work either using coercion or direct force.  
  • Smuggling migrants into the UK – smuggling migrants into the UK on transportations such as aircraft, boats or cargo vehicles.

Penalties under the Modern Slavery Act

The penalties stated in the Modern Slavery Act of 2015 range from imprisonment for individuals and hefty fines for corporates. The penalties vary according to the circumstances of the offence, for instance, trafficking for sexual exploitation can lead to 14 years in prison on conviction.

The sentence on conviction depends on the following aspects of the offence:

  • The number of victims and their age (above or below 18 years)
  • The nature and length of exploitation
  • The use of coercive force, violence or threats.
  • If the victim was subjected to systematic psychological abuse. 
  • If the defendant was organising modern slavery or human trafficking crime on a commercial scale
  • If the defendant was carrying out an operation or had a management role in the operation.
  • If the defendant had a limited role in the operation, due to direct orders from another.

Defence against Human Trafficking or Modern Slavery Allegation

The human trafficking offence should not be taken lightly. It most often leads to prosecutions. Human trafficking is covered under various sectors of law – criminal defence, immigration, child care, employment and human rights legislation. Because of the severity of the offence, these cases are long, complex and have detailed investigations and cross jurisdictions. Nonetheless, your defence strategy depends on the circumstances of the offence. It is paramount that you have an experienced criminal defence team at your side from the outset. It allows us to assess the situation and review the evidence against you and advise you accordingly.

How can Royce Legal help?

Whatever the circumstances surrounding your situation, our criminal defence solicitors have the specialist knowledge and expertise to handle the charges against you. With the resources we have, we ensure that you get the best possible defence through the entire ordeal.