Greetings from The Slave Detective,
I noticed this article in the Independent News Paper today. ‘Judges issue guidelines for consideration’ and immediately thought…’Hurrah’ (Black Adder style…and slapped my thigh!).
Then I read the article….. and read it again. There were some very strong statements… “In essence, for a human being to be treated as property is an affront to human dignity.” and other such things.
At the centre of today’s ruling were conviction appeals in separate cases by two Vietnamese teenagers who, it was contended, were the victims of “trafficking and consequent exploitation”.
Both had been arrested in cannabis factories and had pleaded guilty to the offences charged. Both were given prison sentences of approx 1 1/2 yrs. In all likelyhood they had already served their sentence whilst they were awaiting the court hearing. However that is not the point!
The point here for consideration is should they have been prosecuted in the first place?
This isn’t quite as simple as yes and no! Though some would let you believe it was.
As usual in reporting these cases we do not have all the facts to hand that The Court has and I’m sure their cases were pleaded at the initial hearing. However the fact remains that they pleaded guilty.
My point in case is that far from pleading guilty should this case have not been put before a jury, if it was to be prosecuted at all? If they were young teens being exploited to cultivate cannabis ( and let me tell you this kind of thing is far more common than you would think) then if their defence could not mount a credible defence I worry that this may be being used as a smoke screen to attempt to force an issue in relation to prosecution of victims of trafficking.
It is not beyond the criminal mind to attempt to exploit a situation. I am in no way saying that this is the case here. What I am saying is that each case should be taken on merit, the details examined by learned persons and the process challenged in the appropriate manner!
There will be victim focused persons saying that I support the prosecution of exploited persons.
If you watched the BBC program ‘Stolen’ staring Damian Lewis (you can see a bit of it on my page) I worked with Damian on his role. One of the situations covered in the film was exactly this type of scenario.
This issue raises many more questions than their are suitable answers. Should the victim support a prosecution against the traffickers? If not should they be prosecuted? Do some victims use the system to their advantage? Do some traffickers use the system to their advantage?
What now happens to these victims?
Watch ‘Stolen’ for my answer to it!! (This link takes you to The Youtube version!)
So is this article something to slap my thigh over? In truth I’m not sure. You read it and let me know your thoughts?