Q&As

Can company directors be prosecuted as individuals for offences under sections 1 and 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015?

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Published on LexisPSL on 23/05/2017

The following Corporate Crime Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can company directors be prosecuted as individuals for offences under sections 1 and 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015?

In answering this Q&A, research has been limited to cover offences under section 1 and 2 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA 2015) and other possible offences under other legislation relating to trafficking have not considered.

MSA 2015, ss 1 and 2 provide for offences of human trafficking and slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. It includes sexual and non-sexual exploitation. It came into force on 31 July 2015.

The offence of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour is defined in MSA 2015, s 1 as:

  1. a person held by another person in slavery or servitude and the person knows or ought to know that the other person is held in slavery or servitude

  2. the person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the person knows or ought to know that the other person is being required to perform forced or compulsory labour

Note that it is possible for a person to have committed an offence if they ‘ought to have known’ that the person is held in slavery or servitude or is being required to perform forced or compulsory labour. This could therefore catch someone who was not aware but objectively should have been aware.

The offence of human trafficking is created by MSA 2015, s 2 and is committed where:

  1. a person arranges or facilitates the travel of another person

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