Modern slavery offences sentencing guidelines published


The Sentencing Council has published new sentencing guidelines for sentencing offenders convicted of modern slavery offences in England and Wales, following a consultation.


The new guidelines aim to give judges and magistrates dedicated guidelines to follow when sentencing offenders guilty of offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, including slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour, and trafficking for the purposes of exploitation.


The guidelines apply to adult offenders and cover the following offences:

  • Holding someone in slavery, servitude and forced labour (section 1), including physical restraint or imprisonment, threats or treatment which make escape from their position an impossibility.

  • Human trafficking – transporting people for purposes of exploitation (section 2), which may involve recruiting, harbouring, receiving or transferring people cross-border.

  • Committing an offence with the intention of committing a human trafficking offence (section 4).

  • Breach of a slavery and trafficking prevention order or a slavery and trafficking risk order (section 30).

The new guidelines, which come into effect on 1 October 2021, aim to promote consistency of approach in this area of sentencing and help the courts pass appropriate sentences when dealing with modern slavery offences.


The following documents are available:

  • Modern Slavery Offences: Final Resource Assessment - this document considers the likely effect of the guidelines on the resources required for the provision of prison places, probation and youth justice services - available here.

  • Modern Slavery Offences Guidelines: Response to Consultation - available here.

Sentencing Council August 2021

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