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CPS launches consultation on human trafficking public policy


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 children’s 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 is available on the CPS website and 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 victim's 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.


  1. CPS Public Policy Statement on Prosecuting cases of Human Trafficking Consultation
  2. Media enquiries by phone: 020 3357 0906. Out of hours pager: 07699 781926.
  3. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  4. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). These are organised into 14 Groups, plus CPS London, each overseen by Group Chair, a senior CCP. In addition there are four specialised national divisions: the Central Fraud Group, Counter-Terrorism, Organised Crime and Special Crime. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,250 people and prosecuted 1,032,598 cases with an overall conviction rate of 86.6% in 2008-2009. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  5. The DPP has published his long term vision for the prosecution service and its role within the wider criminal justice system. It includes modernising the service and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of criminal justice - read "The Public Prosecution Service: Setting the Standard" at
  6. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol