+44 (0)20 7421 8000
36 Bedford Row
London, WC1R 4JH
Read Our COVID-19 Update Here

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

Modern slavery and human trafficking has become a global issue, with recent estimates suggesting that at the present time well over a million people have been transported across borders into developed countries. UK authorities have reacted accordingly, in recent years signing up to a number of International Conventions and Protocols designed to prohibit such trade as well as enacting legislation for the purposes of prosecuting such matters. Recent amendments to the Sexual Offences Act have tightened up those parts of the original Act while the Modern Slavery Act of 2015 provides for a number of offences concerning the trafficking and exploitation of people generally.

Cases of this type are notoriously difficult. They tend to be complex, ‘paper-heavy’ and the range of criminality encompassed can be wide-ranging.  Typically they will involve long and detailed investigations, and frequently cross jurisdictions.

Dealing with such cases therefore requires not only excellent preparation skills and real expertise in the court room, but also first-hand experience of the issues that arise in this specialised area.

36 Crime members have up-to-date experience and an excellent reputation for the results they have achieved in this rapidly developing ‘hot-topic’ area of the criminal law.

Members have led training sessions on this topic for the CPS and defence solicitors and are in regular demand by both the prosecution and defence.

Notable Cases

  • Operation Poetry - 2020

Nadia Silver and Samuel Skinner prosecuting a very large county lines drug supply investigation by Northamptonshire Police where vulnerable adults and children were used as slaves by the drug dealers.

  • Operation Doubrava – 2018 - Nottingham Crown Court

John Hallissey and Henry James prosecuting. A major human trafficking trial involving a gang trafficking with a view to exploitation more than 30 male Latvians to the UK on the promise of work and then housing them in appalling conditions. Derbyshire Police said it was the biggest modern slavery case it had ever investigated.

  • Z Mohammed – 2018 – Birmingham Crown Court

James Keeley prosecuted first drug dealer to be convicted under the Modern Slavery Act of trafficking children to sell heroin and cocaine. Click Here

  • P and Others - 2018 – Woolwich Crown Court

Nathan Palmer defended a Vietnamese youth, charged with conspiracy to cultivate cannabis. The defence believed that NP was a child victim of human traffickers. All 13 co-defendants were adults and the case was sent to Crown Court for trial. Counsel drafted effective submissions that NP should not be tried with the adults; expert evidence was obtained supporting the view that NP was a victim of human traffickers; arguments were made that he would have an effective defence under 45(4) of The Modern Slavery Act 2015; that the CPS must apply their guidelines; and that to proceed to trial would be an abuse of process. As a direct result of defence submissions and the defence expert evidence the prosecution reviewed the case and offered no evidence.

  • R v Nguyen, Nguyen & Tran - 2017 - Stafford Crown Court 

    Julie Warburton prosecuted this conspiracy involving the trafficking and slavery of young vulnerable Vietnamese females being moved around the UK and required to perform forced or compulsory labour in nail bars, in the Defendants’ successful businesses. Defendants convicted following a virtually victimless prosecution spanning three police forces, and involving complex issues of law and fact, telephone records and cell-site analysis, significant financial records and circumstantial evidence. Legal arguments included submissions of no case to answer, admissibility of age assessments including dental ageing and Merton assessments

    As seen on the BBC programme “The Prosecutors” shown 9th August 2018

  • C,W & M - 2018 - Leicester Crown Court 

James Keeley prosecuted a case involving a young vulnerable woman held as a domestic slave for over a year

  • R v B & F - 2017 - Worcester Crown Court

Julie Warburton prosecuted this matter involving offences of drug trafficking, trafficking and forced or compulsory labour involving a vulnerable Lithuanian male.

Related Areas of Practice