Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Offences

Offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 are complicated and extremely serious, with the potential for a substantial prison sentence on conviction. Seeking specialist legal advice and representation as soon as possible is essential to make sure you can secure the best possible outcome.

At JD Spicer Zeb, our criminal defence solicitors have been representing clients facing the most serious and complex criminal charges for over 40 years. We can support you from the point of arrest by police or National Crime Agency (NCA) officers, as well as during every stage of any subsequent investigation or prosecution. We can also advise you before the point of arrest or being charged if you have concerns.

We know how confusing and worrying it can be to find yourself facing these types of serious criminal charges. Our team can offer clear, practical legal advice and sympathetic personal support, so you know exactly where you stand and what your legal options are, while making proceedings as easy as we can on you.

Over the years we have achieved an enviable track record for clients to avoid being found guilty and, in many cases, we are able to secure cases being dropped before they reach court. If you are charged with an offence under the Modern Slavery Act, we can support you through every stage of a prosecution, giving you the best chance of securing a favourable outcome.

If you have been arrested or charged with an offence under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, you can contact us 24-hours a day, seven days a week for an immediate free initial consultation, expert legal advice and representation.

Our criminal defence lawyers speak a variety of languages and we also work with a number of accredited interpreters, so we can offer clear legal advice in any language. We are available 24/7 to advise and represent clients across England and Wales either in person or over the phone, so when you need expert legal advice, we are always here for you.

For a free initial consultation on dealing with a Modern Slavery Act charge, please contact our local offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester.

Need immediate legal support for a Modern Slavery Act arrest? Our accredited Police Station Representatives and solicitors are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year using the emergency numbers listed at the top of the page.

Our expertise with modern slavery and human trafficking charges

The criminal defence team at JD Spicer Zeb have many years of experience handling the most serious and complex charges, including in relation to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

We can ensure you have the best possible advice and representation from your first contact with the police or National Crime Agency officers through every stage of any subsequent prosecution. We can also advise you if you have general concerns, even if you have not yet been arrested or contracted by the authorities.

Our criminal defence solicitors will look at all relevant factors, making sure you can have the strongest possible defence. Using our experience and skill, we will make sure any flaws in the prosecution’s case are identified and any additional evidence required for your defence is efficiently gathered and used effectively for your case.  We have considerable expertise in gathering and analysing digital evidence.

We have been establishing relationships with many of the UK’s leading criminal defence barristers specialising in Modern Slavery Act offences, so we can ensure that you have access to the very best legal representation if your case does go to trial.

What to do if you are arrested for a modern slavery human trafficking offence

If you are arrested in connection to a modern slavery offence, you need to remember your legal rights to help ensure you do not say or do anything to undermine your defence. Any mistakes made during a police interview can be very hard to recover from later.

The following should always be kept in mind when speaking to officers from the police or the National Crime Agency:

  1. You do not have to answer any questions asked by the police. Whether to do so or not requires a thorough understanding of your case and how the criminal justice system works. Legal advice should be taken before saying anything.
  2. You should never answer any police questions without a solicitor present.
  3. You have the right to free legal representation.
  4. You can use the duty solicitor available or choose your own lawyer.

At the point of arrest, the arresting officer must inform you of the specific offences you are accused of committing and they must caution you using the following words:

“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

After a police interview for an offence under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, there are various potential outcomes, including:

  • Being released with no further action being taken against you,
  • Being released under investigation,
  • Being detained in custody,
  • Being charged with a specific offence

If you are charged with an offence under the Modern Slavery Act 2015:

  • A hearing date will be set
  • You will either be:

Even if you are released with no further action or under investigation, it is important to be aware that you could be rearrested or summonsed to attend a court hearing at any time.

What offences are there under the Modern Slavery Act 2015?

The Modern Slavery Act consolidates existing offences around slavery and human trafficking. The Act covers the following types of offence:

Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour

This is where:

  • A person is held in slavery or servitude by another person or persons
  • The victim is required to perform forced or compulsory labour
  • That the alleged offenders know or ought to know that the victim is being held in slavery or servitude and is being forced or compelled to perform labour

Human trafficking

This is where:

  • Someone arranges or facilitates the travel of another person with the intent for that other person to be exploited
  • The victim may or may not have consented to the travel
  • The travel can be within a country or between countries

Examples of slavery and human trafficking offences

  • Prostitution – This concerns prostitution or forms of sexual exploitation. Women or young persons can be lured, often abroad, by the false promise of wealth and a better life.
  • Slavery or similar practices – People are moved from place to place and can sometimes be drugged to control them. Victims can be forced to call their family to send cash to secure their freedom; this can then be confiscated by gangs.
  • Forced labour, labour exploitation, or forced services – This can be linked to a debt to the trafficker and involves work in the construction, service, agriculture or entertainment services.
  • Servitude – When people are made to provide domestic work either through direct force or coercion by other means.
  • Smuggling migrants into the UK – Migrants can be illegally smuggled into the UK in vehicles such as aircraft or boats.

Penalties for Modern Slavery Act offences

This will depend on the exact nature of the offence. For example, trafficking people for sexual exploitation can attract a sentence of up to 14 years custody on conviction.

The exact sentence on conviction for a modern slavery offence will depend on various factors, including:

  • The number of victims
  • Whether the victim/s were under 18
  • The nature of the exploitation
  • The length of the exploitation
  • Whether the victim/s were abducted
  • The use of violence or threats
  • Whether the victim/s were subjected to sustained and systematic psychological abuse

The sentence will also depend on the defendant’s level of culpability e.g. whether they were:

  • Directing or organising a modern slavery or human trafficking operation on a significant commercial basis
  • Carrying out an operation or management role within such an operation
  • Had only a limited role in the operation under the direction of others

What defences are there against a modern slavery or human trafficking allegation?

Your defence options will depend entirely on the circumstances, so it is vital to contact our specialist criminal defence solicitors as soon as possible. This allows us to review your situation and the evidence against you, then advise you on the right defence strategy to help you secure the best available outcome for your case.

A modern slavery allegation, just like any other criminal allegation, may be entirely false. It may be that a property or business you own was connected to the offence, but you were unaware of this and could not reasonably have known. If this is the case, we will look at all aspects of the prosecution case and uncover any other relevant evidence to help demonstrate that you were not involved in the offence in question.

If you accept that you were involved in an offence, we can look at options such as whether you only played a limited role and/or that you were forced or coerced into taking part. Evidence such as text messages, emails and other types of communication, as well as witness testimony, can often be critical to your defence in these circumstances.

Whatever your situation, our expert criminal defence solicitors have the specialist knowledge and experience handling these complex charges to ensure you have the best possible defence for every stage of proceedings.

Contact our criminal defence lawyers today

For a free initial consultation, urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to us confidentially about an arrest or charges related to the Modern Slavery Act 2015, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

  • Brent & Camden London Office: 020 7624 7771
  • Manchester Office: 0161 835 1638
  • Birmingham Office: 0121 614 3333
  • City of London: 0207 624 7771 (our senior Solicitors and Partners can meet by appointment in the City)

Or email:

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

24/7 legal representation for Modern Slavery Act charges

Please get in touch for a free initial consultation with one of our expert criminal defence solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice on dealing with an arrest or charges connected to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number: 07836 577 556.

This document does not constitute legal advice.


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