• Modern Slavery and Child Victims

    27 September 2017

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about modern slavery and child victims.
    I agree that child victims of trafficking are a particularly vulnerable group in need of tailored support. That is why I am encouraged that the Government has announced that child victims will be allocated a specialist advocate, trained in the unique needs facing these child victims, to guide them through children's services and the criminal justice and immigration systems.

    In addition, it is vital that trafficked children should not be criminalised where they are forced to commit crimes as a result of their abuse. Even before the Modern Slavery Act, the UK was already fully compliant with international obligations in relation to non-criminalisation of children, and the Director of Public Prosecutions issued strengthened guidance in 2015 to prosecutors on the issue.

    However, I am glad that the Government recognises going further and created a defence for victims as part of the Act which will strengthen non-criminalisation protection for child victims, and encourage them to come forward and support prosecutions. Age will be considered by the court in deciding whether the defence applies, but it will not only apply in court. The defence will ensure that police and prosecutors are aware from the earliest stages of cases that victims of modern slavery who are forced to commit crime are able to be protected from prosecution.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General