Modern slavery prosecutions on the rise - report shows

|News, International and organised crime

Charges for modern slavery offences have risen by more than a quarter in the last year according to figures published today (9 August) by the Crown Prosecution Service.  

In 2017/18, 239 suspects were charged with modern slavery offences, a 27 per cent rise from the year before.

And referrals to the CPS from police and other agencies have also risen by a third to 355 – the highest ever recorded. The increase, which has been part of a dedicated drive to clamp down on slavery related crime, has also seen 185 modern slavery and human trafficking convictions in 2017/18.

The figures have been published today (9 August) in the first CPS Modern Slavery report. The report highlights CPS efforts to disrupt, prosecute and improve our response to both modern slavery and human trafficking. In February, the CPS played host to prosecutors from 15 countries from Europe, Africa and South America, to make sure an effective global network is in place to tackle cross border cases.

Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions said:

“Modern slavery has a devastating, lasting impact on its victims. There is no place in our society for those who enslave others, whether for work, sexual or criminal exploitation or domestic servitude.

“We are working in partnership with police and other partners from the outset to make sure we can build robust cases and deliver justice for victims.

“These cases are growing in size and complexity – that’s why we have given our prosecutors extensive extra training. Reducing the burden on victims and witnesses has been a key part of this training.  

“Our international summit earlier this year brought together expert prosecutors from 15 counties worldwide to make sure we have a committed global response to tackling these horrendous crimes.”   

The report demonstrates emerging trends in modern slavery crimes, including the emergence of ‘county lines’ offending - the trafficking and exploitation of young people by drug gangs in the United Kingdom.  

Its publication coincides with the latest episode of the BBC Two series The Prosecutors, airing this evening at 9pm (9 August). Tonight’s episode focuses on the CPS prosecution of a group of people who forced young Vietnamese women to work in nail bars across England for little or no pay, while subjecting them to abuse.

 

Notes to editors

  • The report is available here
  • Modern slavery flagged offences are those involving allegations of modern slavery or human trafficking referred to the CPS for a charging decision. These are prosecuted as Modern Slavery Act offences or other offences as supported by the evidence.

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