Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales considers issue of non-punishment in trafficking cases

22 May 2013

Anti-Slavery International and ECPAT UK are pleased that the Court of Criminal Appeal has today signalled its recognition of the importance of Article 8 of the EU Trafficking Directive (2011/36), which enshrines the right for victims of trafficking to not be prosecuted for their involvement in criminal activities they have been compelled to commit as a direct consequence of being trafficked.

The Court discussed the responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in ensuring no trafficked child should be brought before a criminal court as a defendant when the crime is a consequence of trafficking. The CPS has indicated that it will revise its guidance to form a tighter safety net for these types of cases for both adults and children in trafficking situations. The Court also recognised the duty for UK law enforcement agencies to investigate the traffickers in these cases.

Klara Skrivankova, Anti-Slavery International’s Trafficking Programme Coordinator, said: “We welcome this acknowledgement and now anxiously await the judgment of the Court because of its relevance for all victims trafficked in the UK for enforced criminality. These are the first cases in the EU where the application of Article 8 of the EU Trafficking Directive has been considered.”

Chloe Setter, ECPAT UK’s Advocacy Officer, said: “Hearing what was said in court today, we are hopeful this will represent a milestone in the protection of child victims of trafficking from being punished and prosecuted for crimes they’ve been forced to commit. It is essential that the focus now shifts to those who ruthlessly exploit them instead.”

Note to editors

– ECPAT UK is working with Anti-Slavery International and other partners on the RACE in Europe project – a two-year initiative to improve knowledge and responses to human trafficking for the purposes of forced criminal exploitation and forced begging in Europe. Through undertaking exploratory research and by training relevant practitioners on the scale and scope of this type of trafficking, the project aims to ensure that victims are treated as such rather than criminals, provided with appropriate support and that traffickers are prosecuted. The project, funded by the European Commission will run until October 2014.
– Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA, with direct effect from the 6th April 2013.

For further information, please contact:

Klara Skrivankova, Trafficking Programme Coordinator, Anti-Slavery International: 07962 663647

Chloe Setter, Advocacy Officer, ECPAT UK: 0207 233 9887