Expert Witness Function
Friday, 26 January 2018

Today sees the launch of a new online resource ATHUB.org.uk to help lawyers to get victims of trafficking the help they need. Produced by the award winning legal charity ATLEU, ATHUB aims to overcome the barriers that victims experience when trying to rebuild their lives after escaping their traffickers. This is the first online resource to bring all this information together in one place and it is badly needed.

New online resource to help lawyers working with victims of trafficking

Today sees the launch of a new online resource ATHUB.org.uk to help lawyers to get victims of trafficking the help they need. Produced by the award winning legal charity ATLEU, ATHUB aims to overcome the barriers that victims experience when trying to rebuild their lives after escaping their traffickers. This is the first online resource to bring all this information together in one place and it is badly needed.

The continuing clamp down on legal aid funding and the impact of cuts on local authority spending means that these victims often struggle to get the information and support they need. To help address this, ATHUB provides a range of information on victims’ rights, accessing benefits and medical support, the asylum process and claiming compensation from their traffickers.

For more information, please see: http://atleu.org.uk/news/2018/1/25/new-online-resource-to-help-lawyers-working-with-victims-of-trafficking

I gave evidence as an Expert Witness at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court earlier this week (22 January 2018) in the case of a Vietnamese national found in a Cannabis Factory. He was charged with being concerned in the cultivation of Class ‘B’ drugs but claimed a defence under Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 provides a statutory defence for slavery or trafficking victims who commit an offence in the following terms:

(1) A person is not guilty of an offence if—
(a) the person is aged 18 or over when the person does the act which constitutes the offence,
(b) the person does that act because the person is compelled to do it,
(c) the compulsion is attributable to slavery or to relevant exploitation, and
(d) a reasonable person in the same situation as the person and having the person’s relevant characteristics would have no realistic alternative to doing that act.

(2) A person may be compelled to do something by another person or by the person’s circumstances.

(3) Compulsion is attributable to slavery or to relevant exploitation only if—
(a) it is, or is part of, conduct which constitutes an offence under section 1 or conduct which constitutes relevant exploitation, or
(b) it is a direct consequence of a person being, or having been, a victim of slavery or a victim of relevant exploitation.

(4) A person is not guilty of an offence if—
(a) the person is under the age of 18 when the person does the act which constitutes the offence,
(b) the person does that act as a direct consequence of the person being, or having it is a direct consequence of a person being, or having been, a victim of slavery or a victim of relevant exploitation, and
(c) a reasonable person in the same situation as the person and having the person’s relevant characteristics would do that act.

(5) For the purposes of this section—
• ‘relevant characteristics’ means age, sex and any physical or mental illness or disability;
• ‘relevant exploitation’ is exploitation (within the meaning of section 3) that is attributable to the exploited person being, or having been, a victim of human trafficking.

There is little doubt in my mind that had the jury not had the benefit of hearing evidence of a specialist in Modern Slavery to enable them to understand the complex nature of this form of criminality and how people become victims, he may well have been either persuaded to plead guilty (knowledge of such matters within the Judiciary is not good) or he would have been found ‘Guilty’.

I was contacted by the Defence Barrister and provided a comprehensive Report for the Court within 72 hours. I was also able to advise the Defence team on the best approach in dealing with the evidence and provided further guidance on the provisions within the legislation in such circumstances.

The accused was acquitted but one wonders just how many persons in similar circumstances have suffered a miscarriage of justice; being advised to plead ‘Guilty’ or convicted due to this lack of adequate knowledge within the Criminal Justice System.

For further information on how I might assist you in a case that you might be dealing with please contact me via the website.

 

View our archive

Expert Witness Function    26 January 18
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery    02 December 17
HMIC slams UK police’s response to Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking    25 October 17
Speaking on Radio Sputnik's World Service    15 August 17
The UK’s ‘Inexcusable’ Failures in Support for Victims    04 May 17
Ethical Employment in Supply Chains    21 March 17
UK Modern Slavery Helpline and Resource Centre    21 March 17
Voice of Islam Radio Station    08 December 16
UK Anti-Slavery Day & Wales Anti-Slavery Conference 2016    27 October 16
World Day Against Trafficking in Persons    30 July 16
500 Twitter Followers!    04 April 16
Grace as Justice    04 April 16
Modern Slavery Forum    15 February 16
How to Avoid Forced Labour in your Supply Chain    08 February 16
Tackling Modern Slavery in the Hotel Sector in Wales    26 January 16
Transparency in Supply Chains – A Practical Guide    17 November 15
Home Office Notification of Modern Slavery Cases    11 November 15
Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner – Strategic Plan 2015-17    30 October 15
Steps Companies Should Take    13 October 15
Modern Slavery Act 2015    12 October 15
How widespread is forced labour in the UK    07 October 15
Typology Of Forced Labour    03 October 15
The Requirement for Transparency in Supply Chains    01 October 15
The 2015 International Association of Women Police conference    04 September 15
Diverse Cymru - Radio Cardiff interview    27 August 15
World Day Against Trafficking in Human Beings    05 August 15
#KnowTheSigns    24 July 15
Wales Anti-Slavery Conference 2015    20 July 15
Welsh Assembly Government Anti-Slavery Conference    17 June 15
7 days and 7 faces of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking    12 June 15
Tackling Hidden Labour Exploitation - Stronger Together Exeter Event    28 April 15
Human Trafficking Event    22 April 15
The Modern Slavery Bill is now law    22 April 15