PPS launches public consultation on updated Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

28 January 2021

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has launched a consultation on its revised Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. The policy explains the approach the PPS takes when making prosecutorial decisions on offences arising from modern slavery and human trafficking and associated crimes such as assault, rape, child sexual abuse and benefit fraud. You can read the draft policy by clicking the link. 

Victims of these crimes are among the most vulnerable in society and it can be difficult for them to seek help due to fear of and control by their traffickers. Types of exploitation, which are often linked, can include slavery and servitude, sexual exploitation and forced labour.

The policy provides practical and legal guidance to prosecutors dealing with cases of modern slavery and human trafficking. It sets out how we work with voluntary and statutory agencies and criminal justice partners in supporting and protecting victims and witnesses throughout the prosecution process.

Ciaran McQuillan, Head of the PPS’s Serious Crime Unit, welcomed the publication of the policy. He said: “Modern slavery and human trafficking are extremely serious and complex offences in which victims are preyed upon by predatory criminal groups.

“PPS specialist prosecutors from the Serious Crime Unit already work closely with our criminal justice partners including the PSNI to build strong cases where there is evidence to do so.

“This revised policy will provide increased clarity to the legal profession, statutory and voluntary agencies and the public as to how we prosecute these cases.

“Because of the particular vulnerability of human trafficking and modern slavery victims and witnesses, the PPS is dedicated to working with our stakeholders and partners in order to provide them with appropriate protection and support.

“We know that there are a wide variety of organisations and individuals with knowledge and experience in this area. We would encourage all interested parties to take the opportunity to give their views on the policy.”

The updated policy supersedes the PPS’s existing Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Human Trafficking, which was first published in 2013, and reflects changes in best practice and in legislation including the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015.

A copy of the policy, together with the nine consultation questions, can be accessed at www.consultations.nidirect.gov.uk. The consultation runs for 12 weeks, closing on 22 April 2021.

ENDS

Notes to Editors 

The Policy is available on the PPS website by clicking the link. 

Copies of the Policy and other formats are also available upon request to: 

Head of Policy & Information  
Public Prosecution Service    
Belfast Chambers    
Chichester Street    
Belfast

BT6 8EX

Tel: 028 90897100  

E mail: info@ppsni.gov.uk

Media queries for the PPS should be referred to the Communications Unit by emailing ppspressoffice@ppsni.gov.uk inside office hours. The out of hours press officer can be contacted on 07920 271 804 or 07990 031 568