On 16 February 2021, Parosha Chandran, barrister and Professor of Practice in Modern Slavery Law at The Dickson Poon School of Law, won a landmark judgement on human trafficking and the non-punishment principle before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
I have reported before about Parosha’s amazing achievements in this Blog. She is a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report ‘Hero’ and general, all round, great person.
The case – V.C.L and A.N v the United Kingdom – concerned two Vietnamese children found working on cannabis farms by police in 2009. Both were convicted of drug crimes and detained in young offenders’ institutions despite indications they were child victims of trafficking who were being subjected to enforced criminal activity and forced labour.
The ECHR ruled that Britain had breached two Articles relating to the protection from trafficking and the prohibition of forced labour (Article 4) and the right to a fair trial (Article 6). This is the first time the ECHR has considered the relationship between Article 4 and the prosecution of victims of trafficking, passing a landmark judgment of non-punishment as a result.
The Court also found a breach of fair trial guarantees through the UK’s failure to identify the children as being potential trafficking victims at the time of their detection which affected the overall fairness of their trials and may have prevented them from securing important evidence that could have supported their defence.