Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors has extensive experience of representing clients involved in international human trafficking cases. Here he discusses a recent case brought under the new legislation of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders (Modern Slavery Act 2015)
Kangs Solicitors has recently been instructed to oppose an application made by the Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police to have a standalone Prevention Order against our client prior to any conviction for any offence.
Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders can be applied for under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 in order to prevent slavery and human trafficking offences being committed.
There are two types of Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders:
- One that can be gained on conviction; and
- A freestanding order on application.
Can an Order be made without a Criminal Conviction?
In this instance our client faced the making of a Slavery and Trafficking Risks Order.
This is an Order that can be made by the Court in respect of an individual who has not been convicted of a slavery or trafficking offence.
The Court must be satisfied that there is a risk that the defendant may commit a slavery or human trafficking offence and that the Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order is necessary to protect against the risk of harm from the defendant committing the offence.
The Chief Constable can take this action where he believes it is necessary to prevent serious harm to the public notwithstanding the absence of a conviction.
The application has to be made to a Court and if granted may impose any restrictions the Court deems necessary for the purpose of protecting the public from harm.
The requirements can include the Respondent having to provide names and addresses that he is known at and where he is staying as well as any change of the same within a three day period.
Recent Human Trafficking Case Conducted by Kangs Solicitors
Our client was alleged to be part of an Organised Crime Group involving large scale human trafficking for labour exploitation.
The police confirmed that our client was one of numerous individuals who were exploiting other travellers from Poland, providing them with accommodation and setting them up in employment in the unskilled labour market.
It is alleged that our client would keep the victims bank details and once payment was made our client would keep the majority of the wages paying only a nominal amount to those exploited.
The Chief Constable in this case was aware that the investigation into our client and others would be a long and drawn out enquiry and, as such, an application for an interim Order was made at an early stage of the proceedings.
These Orders, although civil in nature, are made to protect potential victims from physical or psychological harm which would result if the Respondent committed a slavery or trafficking offence.
The Orders are intended to be a preventative measure to deter unlawful or harmful activity.
Breach of the Order, without reasonable excuse, is a criminal offence which may be tried either summarily or on indictment with maximum penalty on indictment of five years imprisonment.
What does the Applicant (Chief Constable) have to prove?
Of note is that although these are civil matters, the standard of proof required is that the Court must be satisfied so that it is sure that behaviour or actions giving rise to the application took place.
This is an enhanced civil standard of proof, akin to the criminal standard of proof of being sure beyond a reasonable doubt.
It can often be difficult for the Applicant to prove this when making an application for a Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order as it is made prior to any conviction.
Therefore, the Applicant will have to show a pattern of behaviour that has taken place when combined, with other evidence, that points to the risk of future criminality.
Once this hurdle has been overcome by the Applicant, the Court still has to decide that the relevant behaviour has taken place and that the Court must be satisfied that it is necessary to make the Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order to protect a person or persons from harm.
Once an Order has been made it will be for a length prescribed by the Court. The order can be discharged with the consent of all parties.
How can Kangs Solicitors help?
We have over 20 years experience in defending illegal immigrant trafficking and human trafficking cases throughout the Courts in England & Wales.
We have undertaken numerous cases where our team of solicitors has been required to travel to foreign jurisdictions in order to prepare the defence case.
We have physically travelled to and collated evidence in foreign countries and arranged for witnesses from overseas to give evidence in the UK courts by live video link facilities.
If you are being investigated for this type of allegation or you have been served with an application for a Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order then you need to seek expert advice immediately in this relatively new area of law.
Kangs Solicitors will be able to:
- Advise you of your best options in relation to the application made by the Chief Constable; and
- Prepare a response to the application; and
- Negotiate with the Chief Constable on your behalf to come to an agreed Order; or
- Represent you at Court to contest the application and resist the making of an Order.