Trafficking Convictions Overturned

Ben Douglas-Jones KC, instructed by Philippa Southwell of Birds Solicitors, represented BXR (R v BXR [2022] EWCA Crim 1483).  The Court of Appeal (Popplewell LJ, Johnson J and HH Judge Picton) overturned convictions of a victim of trafficking who had, in Nigeria, been: at risk of persecution for being gay; subjected to sex slavery (including multiple rape); witnessed the murder of someone by immolation for being gay; and forced to agree to a “Covenant”, which included ritualistic elements. 


He had then been trafficked to the UK in a state of debt bondage; and, in the UK: subjected to domestic servitude, sex slavery, and gay conversion therapy (“deliverance”) at the hands of ministers of a church.  They put him to work in a factory while subjecting him to further domestic servitude. He had been provided with false documents to secure employment, which had led to his pleading guilty to associated offences. 


The Court accepted that the prosecution had not been in the public interest.  Had the CPS known the trafficking circumstances responsible for the offences, as we have found them to be, and applied the 2013 Guidance, it would very likely not have prosecuted.