The Crown Prosecution Service has published figures showing a 27% rise in the past year of modern slavery offences and charges. Referrals from police to the CPS regarding modern slavery reports have also rose by 31%.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders stated that CPS are working in partnership with police to ensure they build robust cases and deliver justice for victims. Cases are growing in complexity- prosecutors have been given extensive training.

Figures showed that More than 5,000 potential modern day slaves were referred for help, the CPS prosecuting 239 suspects, with 185 convicted.

With this, investigations have grown to last an average of three years, due to complexities caused with multiple defendants and victims who require specialist support, and translation services.  Alison Saunders stated that ‘there is still much more to do, cases are growing in size and complexity.’

The National Crime Agency has launched a touring exhibition campaign to raise awareness of modern slavery and trafficking. The photography aims to portray signs of slavery and exploitation. ‘Invisible People’ is currently touring the country. Although awareness of modern slavery has increased, governmental operations have been controversial.

The Modern Slavery Strategy was implemented in 2014, to reduce practices in trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation. The Public Accounts Committee stated that the strategy is yet to result in coherent action; ‘we don’t know how much money is spent tackling modern slavery, or what success looks like.’

In response to this, CPS Inspectorate called for a formal structure of modern slavery to be introduced in December; improving quality assurances, training, and explanation on the gulf between modern slavery referrals and prosecutions.

Ison Harrison has recently dealt with Operation Angelstoke, the largest case of its type in West Yorkshire.

If you are concerned that you may be facing offences under Human Trafficking, slavery, or forced labour it is imperative that you speak to a legal specialist.

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