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Hui* was orphaned as a child and cared for by his grandmother until she also passed away. With no family left, Hui ended up living on the streets at a very young age. A man offered to help Hui, but he turned out to be a trafficker.

Hui travelled from Vietnam to the UK via several countries, mainly by boat. When he arrived, he lived with a family who exploited him for forced labour, domestic servitude and criminal exploitation. He was made to work and clean for no pay.

The situation came to a head when Hui was arrested after being found in possession of a large amount of money that the police believed to be criminal property.

One of Hope for Justice’s Independent Modern Slavery Advocates (IMSAs) who has worked closely with the survivor, said: “We were incredibly concerned that the survivor was going to be sent to prison for crimes he was forced to commit under duress. The CPS had refused to drop the charges for more than one year, and it was only after public law challenges were made against them that they paid attention.”

We supported him to report his trafficking case to the police. But despite Hui’s willingness to engage with the police, they did not investigate the crimes committed against him. Instead, they proceeded with an investigation into the crimes Hui had committed under duress, such as being made to cultivate cannabis.

Library image, does not show this case. From the series Invisible People © Rory Carnegie for National Crime Agency.

So, as well as writing letters to the CPS on Hui’s behalf, Hope for Justice connected him to the public law firm DPG. They raised legal challenges under Article 6 of the Human Rights Act – the right to a fair trial. We also attended Hui’s legal medical assessments and supported him in court.

“We were informed that the CPS were reviewing their four-stage test as to whether the case should be taken to prosecution”, our IMSA explained. “The CPS presented no evidence in court a few days later, and they dropped the charges on the grounds of modern slavery. We were absolutely relieved about this turnaround. The criminal proceedings had a big impact on the survivor’s mental health and caused a lot of distress. This was on top of the exploitation that he had already faced at the hands of his oppressors.”

When the charges were dropped, Hui was asked how he was feeling. “A lot happy”, he said.

The IMSA working with Hui said: “I’m incredibly proud of the survivor for the strength and tenacity he has shown. I’m pleased that he can now begin to put the proceedings behind him and move forward with his future.”

*Name changed to protect survivor’s identity

young girl