Human Trafficking Conviction "Unsafe"

Ben Douglas-Jones, acting for the Crown in R v Y, conceded that a conviction for using a false passport was unsafe where her legal team in the Crown Court failed to identify her as a possible victim of human trafficking.  


She had been subjected to years of exorcism “treatment”, Ju-Ju magic rituals and repeated rape in Nigeria.  She was trafficked by a stranger to the UK and sold as a domestic and sex slave.


 The passport offence had been committed to enable her to escape from her trafficking situation. The Court endorsed the caselaw in R v O [2011] EWCA Crim 2226; and R v LZ [2012] EWCA Crim 1867 as good law following the definitive approach of the Special Court (Lord Judge) in R v T, THN, HVN and L [2013] EWCA Crim 991.


 In O, LZ and Y the Court of Appeal adopted BD-J’s suggested approach to the breach of international law involved in prosecuting a victim of human trafficking where no-one could be criticised for not identifying her as such at the time.  Namely: where information becomes known, showing that someone was a victim of trafficking and where she would not have been prosecuted had that information been known at the time of prosecution, the conviction is unsafe.  This is notwithstanding an unequivocal guilty plea