Fellow: Siobhan Poll

Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit

The Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU) is a young charity providing legal representation to victims of slavery, trafficking and labour exploitation to help them obtain safety, recovery and redress.

ATLEU’s team of dedicated lawyers are at the forefront of the vital and fast-moving area of trafficking. Since its inception in 2012, ATLEU has shaped the way law develops by pursuing high profile, strategic challenges that hold public authorities to account, and clarifying and extending the legal protections for victims of slavery and trafficking in a political and public landscape where immigration, asylum and the rights of foreign workers are viewed with increasing hostility. ATLEU has also campaigned to challenge legislation and guidance that leaves victims of trafficking open to exploitation. In recognition of their work ATLEU was chosen as the Legal Aid Firm / Not-for-profit at the 2016 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards.

ATLEU is unique, offering both a comprehensive and dedicated legal service to victims of trafficking. ATLEU’s solicitors work collaboratively and across multiple areas of law including: immigration, human rights and public law, young people, housing and community care, and employment and civil litigation. ATLEU represents approximately 100 victims of trafficking annually helping them find legal solutions to their complex problems, helping them to regularise their immigration status, securing accommodation and treatment, and obtaining civil compensation and legal aid. ATLEU helps many others through the provision of training and its legal advice helpline for trafficking support agencies and legal practitioners.

Some of ATLEU’s recent strategic cases include:

Hounga v Allen [2012] EWCA Civ 609, the first Supreme Court case to consider human trafficking.

Chandok v Tirkey UKEAT/0190/14/KN and Tirkey v Chandok ET/3400174/2013, the first ever successful claim for caste discrimination. Ms Tirkey was eventually awarded over £260,000 in compensation. Her case received widespread media coverage on the BBC, ITV and in the national press.

Benkharbouche v Sudan, Janah v Libya [2015] EWCA Civ 33, in which the Court of Appeal declared the State Immunity Act to be incompatible under the Human Rights Act. Declarations of incompatibility are extremely rare under the Human Rights Act. This case is on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Al-Malki and another v Reyes and another (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others intervening) [2015] EWCA Civ 32; [2015] WLR (D) 75, challenging the abuse diplomatic immunity. This case is now on appeal to the Supreme Court.

ATLEU continues to fight to ensure that victims of trafficking have access to justice via legal aid. As a result of their recent Judicial Review ATLEU forced the government to undertake an urgent review of legal aid provision for victims of slavery and trafficking who want to bring claims from compensation against their traffickers. ATLEU have also obtained legal aid for victims of trafficking to bring claims in the Employment Tribunal, where it has historically been unavailable.

For further information, visit our website.

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