To ask Her Majesty’s Government what sanctions can be imposed on companies who employ trafficked individuals.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): If there is sufficient evidence against an individual within a company, that s/he knowingly employed and exploited trafficked victims, those individuals can be prosecuted for offences of human trafficking or conspiracy to commit trafficking offences. The maximum penalty is 14 years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both. Furthermore, if there is evidence that a company has profited from the employment of trafficked individuals, there can be consideration of offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to seize any profits they have made.
If a company in a Gangmasters Licensing Authority-regulated sector has knowingly employed illegal migrants who are victims of trafficking, their licence can be revoked under Gangmasters Licensing legislation. They could also be issued with fines by the UK Border Agency of up to £10,000.
The Gang masters Licensing Act 2004 also creates offences for persons who enter into arrangements under which a gangmaster supplies him/her with workers or services while not under the authority of a licence. The sanction which applies here is a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding 51 weeks, or a fine, or both.
Sanctions for illegal activities including human trafficking can also be imposed on companies by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by taxing the income, profits, and gains from human trafficking.