Trafficked children may be encountered in situations of criminal exploitation such as in cannabis factories or as pick pockets. This is part of their exploitation and part of the control mechanism.
They are frequently told that if they inform anyone in authority of their situation they will be arrested owing to their criminality.
It has happened frequently the young person is not identified correctly as a victim of trafficking and instead is seen to be the perpetrator of the crime leading to arrest, charges, prosecution and conviction.
As a child victim of human trafficking, which is recognised as a serious crime, the child is a victim of crime and thus child protection obligations apply. The child cannot consent to their own trafficking and/or slavery. The correct response is that of a child welfare response.
The Law Society has produced a detailed note on the non-prosecution of victims of trafficking:
Specialist criminal advice will be required to appeal both the conviction and sentence.
See our criminal law page as well.