CPS launches consultation on Human Trafficking public policy

29/07/2010

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today began a public consultation on its Public Policy Statement on Human Trafficking.

The draft document outlines how human trafficking cases are prosecuted and what victims can expect from the CPS. The CPS will be asking victims of human trafficking for their views to inform and influence the policy based on their experiences. This will be done through the POPPY Project, which shelters victims, and organisations such as Anti-Slavery and childrens rights campaigners ECPAT.

Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "It is important that those who help victims understand our role in dealing with human trafficking cases. This new public policy will be the go-to guide on the prosecution process for support groups. It will clearly set out the help that we offer to victims to encourage them to support criminal proceedings and enable them to give their best evidence in court. This will help support groups to give informed advice to victims, which we hope will ultimately lead to more victims supporting prosecutions. The public policy will also explain our role in disrupting trafficking, including pursuing the financial assets of traffickers.

"Combating human trafficking is a high priority for the CPS and the criminal justice system - we are committed to tackling and disrupting this modern form of slavery. Supporting victims so they can speak out against their traffickers in court is at the heart of our policy and this new public statement will make that clear."

The consultation begins today and is available on the CPS web site. It will run until 31 October 2010.

The CPS works with other government departments and non-governmental organisations to support victims of human trafficking. Prosecutors keep victims informed of how the case against their trafficker is progressing and, in cases involving child abuse or sexual offences, meet with them to fully explain charging decisions. We can also apply for special measures to assist the victim in giving evidence, which includes giving evidence via video-link to the court from the victims home country.

Human trafficking is criminalised under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (trafficking for sexual exploitation) and the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 (non-sexual exploitation, including forced labour, domestic servitude, benefits and organ harvesting). It is punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment upon conviction. The CPS can prosecute anyone involved in the trafficking of people into, within or out of the UK, regardless of where they are in the world when they commit the offence.