Prosecuting Human Trafficking – Progress in the UK



Kate Garbers
Managing Director of the multi-award-winning non-governmental organisation Unseen


This paper examines the United Kingdom’s approach to prosecutions and convictions of modern slavery and human trafficking offences. It focuses on the UK’s journey and the progress that it has made thus far, from having no legislation by which to tackle this crime to the newly enacted Modern Slavery Act (2015). The paper observes the low numbers of prosecutions leading to convictions as well as the difficulty in effective data collation and recording of trafficking offences. The paper focuses on a non-governmental organisations experience of working with victims and law enforcement agencies, using a sample of seventy four case files to record interactions with the criminal justice process. Further the paper suggests that in order for the Modern Slavery Act (2015) to obtain successful convictions, prosecution should only be seen as part of the solution and not the whole solution. It will only be a successful part of the UK narrative if it is used in conjunction with effective, long-term victim support and prevention efforts.

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