Section 5

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Corporate criminal liability Criminal liability Forced labour Human trafficking Slavery

Section 5 sets out the penalties for the offences established under Section 1, slavery, servitude and forced labour, and Section 2 of the Act, human trafficking. This provision establishes a penalty of imprisonment for life on conviction on indictment, and of up to 12 months on summary conviction. Under this section, committing an offence with the intent of committing a human trafficking offence (including an offence committed by aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a human trafficking offence) is also punishable with up to 10 years of imprisonment on conviction on indictment, and up to 12 months on summary conviction.

There is no provision in the Act that sets out penalties for legal persons (i.e. companies) that commit offences under the Act. However the Government has suggested that the offences under the Act can be committed by companies, applying the “usual principles of corporate criminal liability”.

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Section 5. Penalties. 

(1) A person guilty of an offence under section 1 or 2 is liable—

(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life;

(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine or both.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under section 4 is liable (unless subsection (3) applies)— .

(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years;

(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine or both.

(3) Where the offence under section 4 is committed by kidnapping or false imprisonment, a person guilty of that offence is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.

(4) In relation to an offence committed before section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 comes into force, the references in subsections (1)(b) and (2)(b) to 12 months are to be read as references to 6 months.

Law / United Kingdom / Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is the first piece of legislation in the UK dedicated to ‘modern slavery’. The Act consolidates and simplifies all of the criminal offences of forced labour, slavery and human trafficking into one Act.

The Act specifically provides for the making of reparation orders, requiring offenders to pay their victims damages, and creates a statutory defence for victims of modern slavery to protect them from prosecution for crimes committed as a result of being trafficked. It also provides for the establishment of the office of Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

Finally, the Act imposes a requirement on certain businesses operating in the UK to disclose what activity they are undertaking to eliminate slavery and trafficking from their supply chains and their own businesses.