Non-Punishment of Victims of Human Trafficking

It is common that victims of human trafficking will be exploited by their traffickers through forced criminality. The Council Of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings and directive states that  “Each Party shall, in accordance with the basic principles of its legal system, provide for the possibility of not imposing penalties on victims for their involvement in unlawful activities, to the extent that they have been compelled to do so.” 
Article 26, Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. The UK’s Modern Slavery Legislation advanced the non-punishment framework by implementing a statutory slavery defence. Throughout England and Wales over the last decade there have been a significant number of cases before the Court of Appeal involving victims of human trafficking and forced criminality who have had their convictions successfully overturned.

The current leading cases are as follows:

  • R v O [2008] EWCA Crim 2835
  • LM &Ors [2010] EWCA 2327 [LM]
  • R v N and R v Le [2012] EWCA Crim 189 [N and Le]
  • THN, T, HVN and L [2013] EWCA Crim 991 [THN]
  • R v O [2011] EWCA Crim 2226 [O 2011]
  • R v LZ [2012] EWCA Crim 1867 [LZ]
  • R v VSJ et all [2017] EWCA Crim 36

Modern Slavery Act 2015 

CPS Guidance on Human Trafficking

COE Trafficking Convention 

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