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As the headlines have shown this year, Modern Slavery offences are becoming increasingly prosecuted by the police and Crown Prosecution Service. In part this is due to a noted increase in Modern Slavery cases hitting the headlines through widespread offending, but also this has been triggered by the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Modern Slavery Offences are only chargeable if they occurred after 2010, the date the legislation came into play, but cases that straddle this time limit are possible to be prosecuted.
Section 1 – Slavery, Servitude, Forced and Compulsory Behaviour
Section 2 – Arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation
Section 4 – Committing an offence with intent to commit an offence under section 2 of the Act
The Modern Slavery Act encompasses all forms of trafficking for exploitation, including human trafficking.
Human trafficking is an offence associated with people smuggling or helping someone illegally immigrate to a country I.E., England or Wales. When someone is charged with Modern Slavery, they will often be charged with a series of Modern Slavery offences, including human trafficking, slavery, or exploitation.
It is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove that an offence occurred. To prove the crime of modern slavery or committing an offence with the conspiracy to commit a human trafficking offence, the prosecution must prove that someone has arranged or facilitated the transportation of an individual or individuals for the purposes of exploitation.
Most interestingly, it is an offence in England and Wales under The Human Tissue Act 2004 to commercially sell organs, and if this offence is done under the requirement or expectation of someone else it would be considered a Modern Slavery offence and charged as such.
You will be charged with a Modern Slavery offence if you are suspected of securing the services or of an individual under force, coercion, threats, or deception. Further, you will be charged with a modern slavery offence if you are suspected to have used threats, force, or deception to make an individual provide services or benefits to other people.
The act of exploitation is defined in the Modern Slavery Act 2015 as slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, and sexual exploitation.
If you are suspected of subjecting a vulnerable person or child to perform services for you, having chosen this person on the grounds that they are a child, mentally ill, disabled, are your relative and would not have the autonomy to refuse to perform these services you will be charged with a modern slavery offence.
The “benefits” noted in these offences are referring to any advantage gained by the alleged trafficker, such as financial gain, profit, personal benefit, or privilege as well as the acquirement of someone else’s state-commissioned benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment Seekers Allowance (ESA) or Child Benefit.
Read more about the offence of Modern Slavery.
If you or a family member have been charged with a Modern Slavery offence you will be feeling frightened, worried, and upset at the prospect of what is going to happen.
In many of the cases we have handled those accused of Modern Slavery offences have been mistakenly included in the investigation by police and prosecution.
There is often confusion about who was involved and what the course of events was. We know that it is possible that you were not involved in the alleged offences and therefore should not be a suspect in the investigation.
To help you navigate and support your modern slavery case, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions our clients have asked us.
The maximum sentence for a charge of modern slavery is 18 years, which is considered a life sentence in England and Wales.
The sentencing guidelines allocated to offences are only a recommendation for the judge to consider. Each case is considered individually by the judge when sentencing is decided.
The factors a judge will consider when sentencing someone for a Modern Slavery offence include if the alleged offence was motivated by hostility regarding the victim’s religion, race, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Additional factors that would be considered when the court decides the seriousness of the Modern Slavery offence is the length of time the alleged offence occurred for or if the defendant displays genuine remorse for their actions.
The police, Crown Prosecution Service and other regulatory agencies will thoroughly investigate your case when you are sentenced for modern slavery.
Your role in the situation will be considered by the court when reviewing your involvement in the offence. There will be a consideration of whether you were coerced or forced into committing a Modern Slavery offence.
Mitigating circumstances are the factors of an offence that can reduce the sentence a judge will give.
In addition to the above factors, the court also considers the following:
Is it possible to reduce a sentence for Modern Slavery with a Guilty plea?
Sentencing guidelines have been changed in the UK (United Kingdom) in recent years to save court time and cost, and to protect witnesses from the stress of needless trials. It is possible to reduce a sentence by a maximum of one-third for offenders over 18 who plead guilty early in a case.
Ancillary orders are extra elements of punishment that can be added to a sentence and include additional restrictions or requirements that can affect a someone’s finances, your property or business or financial activity.
The court always considers whether to make compensation or other ancillary orders, and the following are the most relevant in cases of modern slavery:
Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders (STPOs) can be issued to those convicted of Modern Slavery offences under Section 14 of The Modern Slavery Act 2015. An STPO (Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order) will be given to you if the court believes you are a risk to the public or individuals. This is because the court thinks you may commit another Modern Slavery offence even if convicted.
Since 2020, we have handled many cases alleging Modern Slavery and made sure the charges against our clients were dropped at the earliest opportunity. Our Modern Slavery Defence Lawyers have over 10 years’ experience defending those accused of crimes they did not commit. Their goal is to understand your instructions and the factual circumstances surrounding the allegations made against you. They will use their analytical eye for detail to spot the holes in the prosecution’s evidence.
Not only will we identify the prosecution’s strengths and weaknesses, but we will also look for evidence obtained illegally and question the evidence’s admissibility. We know that the prosecution often time relies on the downloading of data from client’s mobile phones, laptops and any other material that has been obtained during court ordered searches.
As Criminal Defence Solicitors, our lawyershave demonstrable experience in analysing phone, observation, and financial evidence like bank statements, which is often the foundation of a trial. We will enlist the services of only the best forensic analysts, mobile phone experts and computer interrogators to provide positive testimony to strengthen your case.
We only instruct the absolute best Barristers and KCs to work with us on your case to defend you. Our team will collaborate to devise the best strategy and optimize your chances of success. We believe that several legal minds working together on a case are better than one. The whole team at Stuart Miller Solicitors will be available to you and your case to secure you a positive outcome for your case.
The Criminal Defence Solicitors at our firm fight hard to ensure the client gets all the disclosures they are entitled to under the law. On countless occasions, we have found hidden evidence that has helped the defence win the case or a key argument that prosecutors do not share with us, but which has prevented the prosecution from winning the case. We are never afraid to take proceedings to court for incomplete disclosures.
Our understanding and skills allow our criminal defence lawyers to understand the nuances of Modern Slavery cases. Our solicitors will explore the transcultural and transnational issues behind the alleged offence to provide the real perspective of the case to the court.
It is imperative in cases of Modern Slavery to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Contact us now and speak to one of our Criminal Defence Solicitors to arrange a No-Fee consultation. Your consultation can be face to face, online or by telephone. Click on the link at the top of this page to reach us by our 24/7 WhatsApp Hot Line if you prefer.
Securing convictions is the police’s responsibility. When you are arrested by the police or asked to attend the police station for a “voluntary interview” make sure that you are accompanied by a legal professional who can appropriately advise and represent you. Otherwise, the police will rely on your lack of knowledge of the legal system to convict you.
The police are highly trained at the art of interviewing and their techniques are excellent. It is their intention to put people into a mental position where, whether they committed the offence or not, they incriminate themselves.
When you attend the police station for an interview, making sure that you bring with you a diligent solicitor will lend you many benefits. The police strategically withhold the evidence they have against you in their investigation. If you bring along a shrewd Modern Slavery solicitor, they will make sure to ask the police what evidence they have against you and ensure it is shown. They will guide you on what to say, whether a “No Comment” interview is the best option for you or whether you should give your account of the events to protect you from adverse inference from your lack of comment.
We always recommend that you are accompanied by a criminal defence solicitor when attending a police station for allegations of Modern Slavery or are advised by a solicitor before any communication with the police. If you go alone, you could be in even worse circumstances that even the most skilled defence lawyer will not be able to help you out of.
Our Modern Slavery Defence Solicitors have extensive knowledge and experience of advising and representing those charged with Modern Slavery offences. Our solicitors have successfully represented many people accused of Modern Slavery, with the investigations and cases dropped at the police station stage before they reach the court stage.
Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?
Would you like to have a no-fee consultation with one of our Modern Slavery to discuss your case before you instruct us? Give us a call today.
We are available 24/7 to represent you at the police station.
Contact us now and ask to speak with a Modern Slavery solicitor to arrange a consultation face-to-face, over the phone or online. Our team of defence solicitors will investigate securing you Legal Aid.