Human Trafficking

Human trafficking aims to exploit vulnerable individuals for the purposes of the sex trade, forced labour, modern slavery, bogus marriages, or organ donors, by facilitating their movement in or out of a country. The offences usually involve women and children. 

The Palermo Protocol gives an internationally recognised definition of human trafficking: “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 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 takes a variety of forms; the prostitution of others in sexual exploitation, forced labour or forced services, slavery practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. At court, many victims of human trafficking go on to disclose allegations of serious violence and sexual offences in addition to the trafficking and exploitation charges.

There are many laws covering human trafficking. Prosecutions are brought under the following:

  • Asylum and Immigration Act 2004, which specifically relates to trafficking people for exploitation. 
  • The Immigration Act 1971 provides for the offence for assisting or facilitating unlawful immigration. 
  •  Charges can be brought under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. 
  • The trafficked individual is considered exploited if rights are breached in the Human Rights Act 1998.

Human trafficking or people smuggling charges may apply to those who agree to transport migrants into the UK in transportation. Penalties for smuggling human trafficking victims can involve long prison sentences.

Human trafficking is a serious offence leading to prosecutions. There are many law areas of human trafficking- criminal defence, immigration, employment, child care and human rights legislation. Typically these cases can be long and complex, with detailed investigations and cross jurisdictions. It is therefore paramount to seek specialist legal advice.

Contact Ian Anderson on ian.anderson@isonharrison.co.uk or alternatively 0113 284 5062 for free legal advice. 

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