Modern Slavery And People Trafficking

Modern Slavery And People Trafficking

If you are facing criminal charges involving modern slavery and/or people trafficking it is crucial you obtain the best legal advice and representation. Adam Law Solicitors are one of the UK’s leading criminal defence law firms. We have years of experience in successfully defending those charged with modern slavery and people trafficking offences. The penalties for these crimes can include lengthy custodial sentences, therefore, you must instruct a Solicitor who has the expertise and contacts to defend such serious charges.


If you have been charged with modern slavery and/or people trafficking offences, or are already facing charges, you must contact us as quickly as possible.  Phone us now on 0114 256 0111, or email us or use the form on this page.

Adam Law Criminal Solicitors 24hr emergency number 07976 850347

Due to our formidable reputation in successfully defending modern slavery and/or people trafficking charges, Adam Law Solicitors has built strong relationships with leading anti trafficking experts, Barristers, King’s Counsel and Mental Health Professionals, who can assist our team with creating a best in class criminal defence and persuade a jury that you are innocent.

Adam Law Solicitors invests heavily in accreditations, including Lexcel and the Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation. These provide our clients with confidence that we meet the exceptionally high standards for practice management and criminal litigation skills set by the Law Society of England and Wales.

We provide police station representation. Call us now on the number below.

Adam Law Criminal Solicitors 24hr emergency number 07976 850347


What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery is where a person is illegally exploited for commercial or personal gain. Modern slavery can involve sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labour, criminal exploitation, and organ harvesting. A person subjected to modern slavery may have been tricked into coming to the UK from abroad and had their passport and money taken away from them to prevent escape. Modern slaves are often subject to violence and abuse.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking involves trapping people through violence, deception, or coercion and using them for personal or commercial gain, often through forced labour and/or sexual exploitation. It is different from people smuggling, which involves transporting or producing fraudulent documents for people who have chosen freely to enter another country to claim asylum. Human trafficking does not have to involve moving people between countries or even locations in the UK. It is, however, possible for people smuggling to turn into a human trafficking situation.


Arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation – Section 2 Modern Slavery Act 2015

  1. A person commits an offence if the person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person (V) with a view to V being exploited.
  2. It is irrelevant whether the victim consents to the travel (whether V is an adult or child).
  3. A person may in particular arrange or facilitate V’s travel by recruiting V, transporting or transferring V, harbouring or receiving V, or transferring or exchanging control over V.
  4. A person arranges or a person arranges or facilitates V’s travel with a view to V being exploited only if 
    1. Securing services etc.
    2. the person intends to exploit V in any part of the world during or after travel; or
    3. the person knows or ought to know that another person is likely to exploit V in any part of the world during or after travel.
  5. Travel is defined as:
    1. Arriving in, or entering, any country
    2. Departing from any country, or
    3. Travelling within any country.
  6. A person who is a United Kingdom (UK) national commits an offence regardless of where the arranging or facilitating takes place, or where the travel takes place.
  7. A person who is not a UK national commits an offence if any part of the arranging or facilitating takes place in the UK, or the travel consists of arrival or entry into, departure from, or travel within the UK.

Section 3 defines the meaning of exploitation for the purposes of section 2. A person is exploited only if one or more of the following apply:

  1. Slavery servitude and forced or compulsory labour, where a person is the victim of an offence under section 1 Modern Slavery Act 2015
  2. Sexual exploitation, which involves the commission of an offence under
    • Section 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Children’s Act 1978 (indecent photographs of children), or
    • Part 1 Sexual Offences Act 2003

which would involve the commission of such an offence if it were done in England and Wales.

  1. Removal of organs in circumstances where a person is encouraged required or expected to do anything which involves the commission of an offence under section 32 or 33 of the Human Tissue Act 2004 (prohibition of commercial dealings in organs and restrictions on use of live donors).
  2. Securing services etc. by force, threats or deception, where the person is subjected to force, threats or deception designed to induce him or her – 
    1. to provide services of any kind,
    2. to provide another person with benefits of any kind, or
    3. to enable another person to acquire benefits of any kind.

Securing services etc. from children and vulnerable persons in circumstances where another person uses or attempts to use the person for a purpose within section (5) (a), (b) or (c), having chosen him or her for that purpose on the grounds that;

  • he or she is a child, is mentally or physically ill or disabled, or has a family relationship with a particular person, and
  • an adult, or a person without the illness, disability, or family relationship, would be likely to refuse to be used for that purpose.

Under sections 3(5) and 3(6) “benefits” is defined as any advantage derived by the trafficker, which could include financial gain, profit, personal benefit or privilege as well as state financial assistance.

Section 4 Modern Slavery Act 2015 – Committing an offence with intent to commit an offence under section 2 of the Act

Section 4 creates an offence of committing any offence with the intention to commit an offence of human trafficking under section 2. This includes an offence committed by aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring an offence under section 2. The offence will also capture activity such as supplying false documents to be used to facilitate trafficking. The offence is drawn widely enough to encompass any offence committed by aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring an offence of trafficking.

Slavery or Servitude

Slavery is described as the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching the right of ownership are exercised. In essence, characteristics of ownership need to be present for a state of slavery to exist.

Servitude is a linked but much broader term than slavery. In Siliadin v France [2005] EHRLR 660 (paragraph 123), the ECHR reaffirmed that servitude “prohibits a particularly serious form of denial of freedom. It includes, in addition to the obligation to provide certain services to another, the obligation on the “serf” to live on the other’s property and the impossibility of changing his status”. The evidence showed the applicant, an alien who arrived in France at the age of sixteen, had worked for several years for the respondents carrying out household tasks and looking after their three, and subsequently four, children for seven days a week, from 7 am to 10 pm, without receiving any remuneration. She was obliged to follow instructions regarding her working hours and the work to be done, and was not free to come and go as she pleased, though she was allowed out on her own with permission of her employers. The Court unanimously held that there has been a violation of Article 4 of the Convention.

Domestic case law

The case of William Connors and others [2013] EWCA Crim 324 offers some further guidance on the distinction between these 3 elements. This case involved a family who, cajoled, bullied and through deception, recruited vulnerable men to work for them. The men worked long hours in very poor conditions 7 days a week, whilst being subjected to violence, threats and abuse. A manifestation of this control was that many of the victims were deprived of the will to leave; others were too demoralised to do so. All five defendants were convicted of a single count of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour. During the course of the trial, the judge directed the jury to acquit the defendants of conspiracy to hold a person in slavery or servitude. The trial judge had commented that in order for servitude to be established, a court must find that it was impossible for the workers to change their status.

What types of evidence will the Prosecution use to prove a person was a victim of modern slavery and/or human trafficking?

There are several factors which may, depending on the circumstances, indicate that someone may be a victim of modern slavery and/or human trafficking. The essential elements of the offence are coercion or deception, which may be demonstrated in several ways. Behaviour that would normally, of itself, be evidence of coercion includes (but is not limited to):

  • violence or threats of violence by the employer or the employer’s representative;
  • threats against the worker’s family;
  • threats to expose the worker to the authorities, for example, because of the worker’s immigration status or offences they may have committed in the past;
  • the person’s documents, such as a passport or other identification, being withheld by the employer;
  • restriction of movement;
  • debt bondage;
  • withholding of wages.

Other factors that may be indicators of forced labour include (but are not limited to):

  • the worker being given no information, or false information, about the law and their employment rights;
  • excessive working hours being imposed by the employer;
  • hazardous working conditions being imposed by the employer;
  • unwarranted and perhaps unexplained deductions from wages;
  • the employer not paying the full tax or national insurance contributions for the worker;
  • the absence of any formal or implied contract of employment;
  • poor accommodation provided by the employer;
  • misleading information having been given about the nature of the employment;
  • the person being isolated from contact with others;
  • money having been exchanged with other employers/traffickers etc. for the person’s services in an arrangement which has not been agreed with the person concerned or which is not reflected in his remuneration.

These factors have been further supplemented by sections 1(3), (4) and (5) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 which advise that regard may be had to all the circumstances when determining whether a person is a victim of slavery servitude or forced labour. This can include their age, family relationship, and any mental or physical illness which may make the person more vulnerable.

In practice, conditions of servitude and forced labour often involve physical and sexual assaults, restriction of liberty or violence. However, in establishing that a person was held in servitude or required to undertake forced labour does not require the prosecution to prove actual physical force was used or that the victim was physically detained or imprisoned. There may be situations where no physical violence is used or there are no restrictions on movement, but psychological or coercive means are used to effect control, including confiscating the victim’s passport, or keeping them in isolation. Requiring someone to work long hours with few breaks and in poor conditions which are contrary to human dignity might reflect the circumstances in which exploited victims are compelled to work, where they are deprived of essential needs and subject to humiliation, threats and insults.

Accommodation may have been made a condition of employment, for which a high rent is paid, comparative to earnings, and which creates a debt bondage relationship. The victim may be told that if they leave the accommodation they will lose their employment or have to continue to pay for accommodation. Whilst they may be physically free to leave, they are effectively a prisoner of their circumstances.

Why choose us?

Serious crimes such as modern slavery and people trafficking offences demand the expertise of a law firm that has the knowledge and connections required to build a persuasive criminal defence. We work incredibly closely with your Barrister and will keep you constantly updated as to how your case is developing. Not only do we have a robust track record of successfully defending criminal cases, but we are also skilled at applying for and achieving bail.

Do not delay in calling us on 0114 2560111.

If you are concerned you may be facing charges for modern slavery and/or people trafficking or are already facing charges, it is essential you contact us as quickly as possible. 

Adam Law Criminal Solicitors 24hr emergency number 07976 850347