‘We have an ethical duty to act when slavery cases are uncovered’

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A SENIOR prosecutor who specialises in cases of slavery has told of the complexity in bringing slavers to justice.

Crown advocate James Kellam, has the lead role for slavery cases at Crown Prosecution Service Wessex’s complex casework unit.

As the scale of modern-day slavery in the UK is revealed, Mr Kellam said: ‘It’s not the kind of case where police can leave the offenders offending.

‘Police might wait for a fraudster to do it again to catch them red-handed, they might deploy undercover officers to drug dealers.’

But in cases of slavery he added: ‘We’ve got to rescue them and the opportunity and the priority quite rightly is that rescue.’

That means it can be difficult to build up evidence or track down other people, he added.

But Mr Kellam said slavery cases are not common at CPS Wessex, which covers Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Dorset and Wiltshire.

He said: ‘They are not common to the extent they will necessarily have an international dimension which may mean we have to obtain evidence abroad.’

The Modern Slavery Act, passed in March this year, consolidated existing law around slavery.

Now the most serious offenders can face life in jail.

The act also put in place a defence in law for slavery victims forced to commit crime.

And courts can order perpetrators to pay reparations directly to victims of slavery or trafficking.