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New Modern Slavery Offences Sentencing Guidelines come into force on the 1st October 2021

View profile for Correna Platt
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What is the Modern Slavery Act defence in criminal proceedings?

The first sentencing guidelines for offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, were published on the 12th August by the Sentencing Council following consultation. The offences covered include slavery, forced labour, human trafficking or an offence committed to facilitate human trafficking.

Under the new guidelines judges can give severe penalties of up to 18 years imprisonment to offenders in a leading role who expect substantial financial advantage and who expose victims to an extremely high risk of death.

The guidelines will also include :

  • Offenders coerced or intimidated into committing slavery or human trafficking offences or are themselves victims, will have that fact recognised by the courts. This could see them receive comparatively lower sentences, where appropriate.
  • The harm caused to victims may not always be obvious, and the guidelines direct the courts to make sure they consider all the facts of the case, even where a victim is unwilling or unable to give evidence.

There is also guidance on sentencing offenders convicted of committing an offence to facilitate a human trafficking offence. This proposes an uplift of up to two years to the sentence that would have been imposed for the underlying offending. The maximum penalty for this offence is ten years, but where the underlying offence is kidnapping or false imprisonment, judges could impose life sentences.

Stephensons' crime department represent individuals who have been charged with large scale drug supply offences some of whom are running the modern slavery defence. If you are being investigated or have been charged with a similar offence please do not hesitate to contact the team on 0161 696 6188 or complete our online enquiry form.