Greetings from The Slave Detective,
There are days when I know we are moving in the right direction.
Today I was privileged to have an audience with a representative of The Criminal Cases Review Commission.
“Fine” I hear you say. Maybe even “That’s just Dandy!” What have they to do with Human Trafficking?
The CCRC look into cases when someone thinks they have been wrongly convicted. Where a conviction is unsafe. Not exactly a law enforcers friend that is for sure. Many rightly convicted persons think they are innocent!
But in 2012 the UK Government have taken a bold step. In previous times only persons who had a criminal trial and new information or evidence had the luxury of attention from The CCRC.
Now they have recognised that Trafficked Victims are often convicted of offences, often pleading guilty on advice when they have committed offences to either escape their traffickers or under duress from traffickers whilst being controlled.
They are visiting prisons where many immigration offenders are held looking to review cases where the trafficking aspect of a case has been overlooked or ignored.
In the UK the Crown Prosecution Service often prosecute Guilty cases where they have the minimum information. Easy offences such as where a passport has been used to facilitate entry into the UK or, in the case of ‘T’ to escape The UK.
In a landmark case ‘T’ had her conviction overturned when she attempted to escape the UK with a stolen passport. She was caught and admitted the offence. It was only after she was identified by the Prison Authorities, whilst serving a sentence for this offence, did the true facts come to light. She had been trafficked and had spoken about it when she was interviewed by Police and her defence lawyer. She was advised by her legal counsel to plead guilty and her case was wrapped up very quickly.
This landmark case has now highlighted to the legal profession their duty of care in such cases. She was obviously trafficked when the case was reviewed. A change in legislation in the UK and stance by the judiciary means that cases like this will hopefully not fall through the net. At least we are more aware of the circumstances of how in 2007 she was wrongly convicted.
The CCRC can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.