Tue, 26 Feb 2019
Chloe represented AS, an Afghan teenager with significant mental health disorders, charged with assisting an offender. AS’ plea was connected to a trial in respect of a robbery held in the Crown Court where several adults were jointly charged and subsequently convicted.
AS entered the UK as an unaccompanied child having spent a significant period in ‘The Calais Jungle’, a refugee encampment. He escaped from Afghanistan following several of his family members being killed by the Taliban. Having arrived in the UK his smugglers then used debt bondage to trap him and force him into selling drugs having ‘cuckooed’ his flat. Out of fear of repercussions towards his family who remained in Afghanistan AS complied. He was routinely terrorised by his smugglers who would come to his flat with machetes and threaten him if he showed indications of non-compliance.
Later on AS was trafficked into forced labour in the building industry.
Following a Positive National Referral Mechanism decision (which confirmed that AS was actively targeted due to his vulnerabilities) an application was made to vacate that plea. Representations were made relying upon trafficking convention, definitions within Modern Slavery Act 2015 and published policy guidance. Following a successful application to vacate the Crown offered no evidence.
Chloe acted pro bono on behalf of Barnardo's, a charity specialising in the representation of children subject to exploitation. She was instructed by Clayton Solicitors.