Trafficking in Persons Report 2016 - Country Narratives - Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG: Tier 2

Luxembourg is a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Victims of sex trafficking from Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America are exploited in prostitution in cabarets, private apartments, and on the street. Forced labor, sometimes involving Chinese or Eastern or Southern European men, women, and children, occurs in various sectors, including restaurants and construction. Traffickers reportedly transport an unknown number of Romani children from neighboring countries for forced begging in Luxembourg. Groups vulnerable to trafficking include migrant workers in domestic work, catering, construction, and begging, as well as unaccompanied foreign children, and people in Luxembourg’s legal and illegal commercial sex industry.

The Government of Luxembourg does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government maintained the number of cases investigated and traffickers convicted, funded an anti-trafficking conference, allocated 100,000 euros ($114,000) for an awareness campaign, and continued to provide strong protections to identified trafficking victims. However, the government only concluded two prosecutions, continued to issue short and suspended sentences, did not provide adequate resources to its anti-trafficking police unit, and failed to finalize a national referral mechanism for victim identification and protection or a national action plan.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LUXEMBOURG:

Vigorously prosecute, convict, and sentence labor and sex traffickers, including complicit officials, with sufficiently stringent prison sentences; finalize the national referral mechanism to guide front-line responders on how to proactively identify all types of trafficking victims and refer them to available services and protection; revise the trafficking law, including article 382-1, to clarify that force, fraud, or coercion are core elements of the crime of trafficking of adults; train law enforcement that subjecting a child to prostitution constitutes a trafficking crime; allow non-EU trafficking victims access to Luxembourg’s labor market; increase resources available to law enforcement and government officials to proactively assist victims, identify and investigate labor and sex trafficking cases; continue to work collaboratively with, and increase resources available to, the national rapporteur to critically assess efforts and make recommendations to improve the government’s response to human trafficking; and finalize a national action plan.

PROSECUTION

The government demonstrated a slight decrease in law enforcement efforts. Luxembourg prohibits all forms of sex and labor trafficking through articles 382-1 and 382-2 of the criminal code, although article 382-1 is broader than the international definition and could be used to prosecute non-trafficking cases, as force, fraud, and coercion are aggravating factors that increase penalties rather than a means to commit the offense. The prescribed penalties for trafficking offenses range from three to 10 years’ imprisonment for adult trafficking and 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment for child trafficking. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. During the reporting period, the government reported 10 investigations and two prosecutions, compared to 10 investigations and six prosecutions in the previous reporting period. The government convicted five traffickers for sex trafficking in 2015, the same number as in 2014. Unlike in 2014, when all traffickers received prison sentences, the courts suspended the majority of prison sentences in 2015. Three traffickers received fully suspended sentences and fines ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 euros ($1,140 to $2,280). Two traffickers were ordered to serve between 18 and 48 months in prison, plus fines, compared to maximum sentences of 12 and 36 months in 2014 and 2013 respectively. The reported statistics reveal that convicted traffickers continued to frequently avoid imprisonment, resulting in penalties that are insufficiently stringent, as well as weakening deterrence of trafficking offenses. The police unit responsible for investigating trafficking cases continued to lack resources. In November 2015, the government, in collaboration with a regional organization, organized and funded a conference on law enforcement challenges concerning trafficking activities by African organized crime groups; 50 government officials and NGO representatives attended. The government also funded five judges’ participation in anti-trafficking training at a foreign magistrate’s school. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking offenses.

PROTECTION

The government maintained modest efforts to protect trafficking victims. Authorities identified two female sex trafficking victims, compared with 11 victims of labor and sex trafficking in the previous reporting period. Authorities did not finalize a written national referral mechanism for front-line responders; as a result, the management of victim referral and services occurred on an ad hoc basis. The government provided shelter and services to one of the victims identified during the reporting period, and it continued to provide assistance to five victims identified in the previous reporting period. The government increased funding for victim services generally by 500,000 euros ($569,000); however, it is unclear how much of this funding was dedicated to victims of trafficking. The government had policies in place to encourage trafficking victims to assist in the prosecution of trafficking offenders, including legal alternatives to removal to countries in which victims would face retribution or hardship. Trafficking victims were entitled to a 90-day reflection period to decide whether they wanted to testify, during which EU citizens could work. Upon expiration of the reflection period, the government could issue a foreign victim either temporary or permanent residency status, depending upon the victim’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement and whether the victim was an EU national. The government provided four trafficking victims with permanent residence permits in 2015. Victims were also entitled to participation in a witness protection program to ensure their security before, during, and after a trial. There were no reports authorities penalized victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking.

PREVENTION

The government did not demonstrate an increase in anti-trafficking prevention efforts. The inter-ministerial committee met three times and continued drafting a national action plan; the plan was not finalized at the close of the reporting period. The government did not conduct a national awareness campaign. The government allocated 100,000 euros ($92,000) for a public awareness campaign in 2016, although the campaign had not been launched at the close of the reporting period. The government collaborated with regional partners to publish a brochure to raise awareness among first-responders, as well as a manual to strengthen cooperation among regional partners. The government also provided funding and technical support for an NGO-run website focused on the prevention of child sex tourism. The national rapporteur on trafficking in persons began the development of a centralized data collection system and began drafting the first bi-annual report; however, neither the database nor the report were finalized during the reporting period and the rapporteur lacked adequate resources. Authorities did not undertake any measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor. The government did not provide anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel; however, it distributed an anti-trafficking brochure to all diplomats prior to their deployment abroad.