Modern slavery encompasses human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour.
Part 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 introduces 2 new civil orders: Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders (STPOs) and Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders (STROs).
The police, the National Crime Agency, immigration officers and labour abuse prevention officers from the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority can apply to court for these orders, which allow the courts to place a range of restrictions on the behaviour and activities of a person who poses a risk of committing slavery or trafficking offences.
An STPO on conviction can be made by a Court at the time of conviction in respect of an individual who has been convicted of a slavery or trafficking offence where there is a risk that the defendant may commit another slavery or human trafficking offence and poses a risk of harm to the public in doing so. The STPO on conviction will typically be sought by the prosecutor at the sentencing stage. STPOs on conviction enhance the Court’s ability to place restrictions on individuals who have been convicted of a modern slavery offence, ensuring that even after they have served their sentence any future risk of similar criminality is effectively managed.
A STRO can be made by a Court in respect of an individual who has not been convicted of a slavery or trafficking offence. The Court must be satisfied that there is a risk that the defendant may commit a slavery or human trafficking offence and that the STRO is necessary to protect against the risk of harm from the defendant committing the offence. STROs enable action to be taken where this is necessary to prevent serious harm to the public notwithstanding the absence of a conviction.
Children, young people and vulnerable adults are particularly at risk of being trafficked. Many are put to work in the sex industry. Any powers available to help safeguard individuals at risk in this way are a welcome addition. Anyone who has information or suspicions relating to such activities should treat it as a serious safeguarding matter and contact the Police immediately.