Section 23

homepage-img2

flagUnited Kingdom

Forced labour Human trafficking Slavery

Section 23 makes a number of provisions for the protection of slavery and trafficking victims in criminal investigations. Subsection 1 makes the Chief Constable responsible for ensuring that the complainant receives specific treatment from the part of law enforcement aimed at preventing secondary victimisation; including by avoiding unnecessary repetition of interviews, visual contact between the complainant and the accused, unnecessary questioning concerning the complainant’s private life, as well as a series of protections in cases where the complainant is underage.

Link to full text

Text

Section 23. Protection of slavery and trafficking victims in criminal investigations

(1) Without prejudice to the rights of the accused, and in accordance with an individualised assessment of the personal circumstances of the complainant, the Chief Constable shall ensure that during an investigation of an offence under section 1 or 2—

(a)the complainant receives specific treatment aimed at preventing secondary victimisation by avoiding, as far as possible—

(i)unnecessary repetition of interviews;

(ii)visual contact between the complainant and the accused, using appropriate means including communication technologies;

(iii)unnecessary questioning concerning the complainant’s private life;

(b)in addition if the complainant is under the age of 18—

(i)interviews with the complainant take place without unjustified delay after the facts have been reported;

(ii)interviews with the complainant take place, where necessary, in premises designed or adapted for the purpose;

(iii)interviews with the complainant are carried out, where necessary, by or through persons trained for the purpose;

(iv)if possible and where appropriate, the same persons conduct all the interviews with the complainant;

(v)the number of interviews with the complainant is as limited as possible and interviews are carried out only where strictly necessary for the purposes of the investigation;

(vi)the complainant may be accompanied by an adult of the complainant’s choice, unless the police officer in charge of the investigation decides to the contrary and records the reasons for that decision in writing.

(2) In this section—

“the accused” means a person who is alleged to have committed, or has committed, an offence under section 1 or 2;

“complainant” means a person against or in relation to whom an offence under section 1 or 2 is alleged to have been committed, or has been committed.

Law /United Kingdom / Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland)

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) received Royal Assent on the 13th of January 2015.

The objective of the Act was to provide Northern Ireland with a more robust legal framework in relation to the prosecution of traffickers and those subjecting people in Northern Ireland to conditions of slavery; the provision of improved support for victims; and tackling the demand for the services of trafficked victims.

The Bill also sought to achieve improved compliance with international obligations under the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the European Directive on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and Protecting its Victims.

This Northern Irish legislation, is part of a movement to consolidate and strengthen the laws addressing human trafficking, forced labour, slavery and servitude in the UK. As part of this process, legislation was adopted across the UK, in Northern Ireland (Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act ), Scotland (Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act), and England and Wales (Modern Slavery Act).