Eighteen former victims of modern slavery being assisted by Hope for Justice have received compensation via criminal proceedings following the conviction of their traffickers.
This is a rare victory – only eight compensation orders of this kind were made nationwide in the entire period from 2004 to 2014, which is just a tiny fraction of the 211 people who were found guilty of trafficking and slavery-related crimes in the same timeframe. There have only been a further three compensation orders up to 2016.
Hope for Justice legal director, Phillipa Roberts, said: “This is a great result for these survivors and a testament to the hard work of West Yorkshire Police and Hope for Justice.
“We have supported the victims throughout the criminal process. Without this, the victims may not have been able to give evidence at court, as many of them – due to systemic failings – would have been rendered homeless at the time the court case came to fruition.”
Helping victims seek financial justice is an important part of ensuring perpetrator accountability and deterrence.
The victims in this case, which dates back a number of years, are also being supported separately through civil proceedings. Civil compensation claims are likely to lead to higher amounts of compensation than criminal proceedings.
Hope for Justice works closely with specialist legal charity ATLEU (Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit), which is handling the civil proceedings for the victims we support. ATLEU is a strong advocate of victims’ rights and has fought tirelessly to get legal aid in place for them.
Hope for Justice recently contributed to a research paper by Focus on Labour Exploitation called ‘Access to compensation for victims of human trafficking‘, which outlined a whole series of legal and practical barriers that stand in the way of victims getting the compensation they need and deserve.