Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Criminal Defence and Corporate Compliance Barristers

There are legal and evidential challenges of raising a modern slavery defence in the criminal courts of England and Wales and for corporate reporting of slavery in supply chains.

Non-punishment of a trafficked person who commits crime is derived from a range of international and regional legal instruments as well as the framework of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, government and CPS policy.

The penalties under the Modern Slavery Act for commission of human trafficking offences are severe – including substantial terms of imprisonment for individuals.

The due diligence requirements for corporates in relation to Modern Slavery can also be highly complex.

Such cases require expertise in the substantive law, procedural requirements and expert evidence.

Why Choose Libertas Chambers?

Our members have appeared in leading cases involving the intersection of human trafficking and organised crime/terrorism and war crimes.

Members of Libertas Chambers at every level have experience in criminal investigations, trials and appeals involving the domestic defence of trafficked persons who commit crimes before and since the implementation of the defence in s45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

In particular, members are on top of the latest issues arising from the 2022 decision in AAD and others.

In addition, our Dr Felicity Gerry KC is a contributor to Human Trafficking Modern Slavery Law and Practice (Bloomsbury 2nd Ed published 2020) and has advised internationally on the application of the non-punishment principle, including UNODC research on the victim /perpetrator paradigm.

Corporate governance and investigations

Members of Libertas Chambers also have experience in the context of corporate responsibility for slavery in supply chains in both the UK and Australia, where there is an emerging overlap with criminal law:

The compliance mesh capable of fulfilling the ‘protect, respect, remedy’ mantra of business and human rights can be complex, particularly in construction, design, operation and production.

Even where the quality of the product is high, if there is exploitation in the workforce, there is a risk of safety and environmental breaches and issues over the potential for remediation.

Members of Libertas Chambers have experience in fraud, bribery, corruption, money laundering and other corporate crime, giving a unique insight into the necessity of engaging with different stakeholders in different locations. We understand the risks and can advise on identifying additional risks or investigations of the treatment of people in supply chains to understand the culture of organisations and appropriate compliance.

Instruct LibertasTo discuss your case please contact our clerks by phone on +44 (0) 20 7036 0200 or email us at