Luxembourg is a destination country for men, women, and children from Nigeria and other African countries, as well as Morocco, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, China, France, and Belgium who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor or services, including forced criminal activities. According to local experts, unaccompanied and undocumented children who are asylum seekers or refugees are particularly vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. Adult victims of sex trafficking are recruited by agents in their home countries for work in Luxembourg’s cabarets and subsequently forced into prostitution in cabarets, private apartments, and in street prostitution. Forced labor, sometimes involving Chinese men, women, and children, occurs in sectors including construction and restaurants. During the year, a media report alleged third-country nationals from Portugal were subjected to conditions of forced labor in Luxembourg. According to past reports, women in prostitution in Luxembourg are often controlled by pimps, and some of these women are likely trafficking victims; the majority of women in street prostitution are Nigerian. According to country experts, traffickers utilized non-physical coercion to control victims in prostitution and to operate within the country’s legal prostitution regime and evade law enforcement.
The Government of Luxembourg fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to investigate and prosecute human trafficking offenders in 2012, and convicted more trafficking offenders in comparison to the previous year. However, only half of the convicted offenders were sentenced to terms of one year or more of incarceration, and courts continued to impose sentences below the minimum prescribed by the trafficking law. During the year, the government’s identification of and assistance for trafficking victims declined, and a local observer reported that police arrested and placed foreign trafficking victims in an immigration retention center instead of referring them to an NGO for specialized assistance and care. The government provided funding for the short-term care for some trafficking victims, but few remained in Luxembourg long enough to assist in the prosecution of their traffickers. The government has yet to identify any victims of child sex trafficking victims in the country.
Recommendations for Luxembourg: Finalize implementation regulations for the May 2009 protection law which seeks to formalize and codify the current informal ad hoc approach to victim identification and care on a national level; ensure trafficking victims are not placed in immigration detention or otherwise prosecuted for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked; aggressively prosecute and convict trafficking offenders to ensure that they receive sentences proportionate to the gravity of the crime; continue to take steps to reduce the use of suspended sentences for any trafficking offenders, including first-time offenders, and appoint a specialized anti-trafficking prosecutor to seek enhanced penalties in these cases; establish formalized procedures to proactively identify and refer for care trafficking victims among all men, women, and children found in vulnerable groups, including those detained as undocumented migrants and in the commercial sex trade, and enlist NGOs in this process; provide more incentives for foreign trafficking victims to stay in Luxembourg long enough to assist in bringing their traffickers to justice; increase the use of multi-disciplinary methods to identify victims of forced labor, sex trafficking, and child trafficking by engaging front-line responders outside of law enforcement, including by granting NGOs access to potential trafficking victims in immigration detention centers; appoint an anti-trafficking rapporteur to make self-critical recommendations and improve the response to trafficking in Luxembourg; implement a campaign to reduce demand and educate the public about sex trafficking and its links with prostitution, as well as the existence of forced labor in the country.
The Luxembourg government continued to prosecute trafficking in 2012, and convicted an increased number of trafficking offenders during the reporting period. However, the government continued to hand down lenient sentences for convicted trafficking offenders. Luxembourg prohibits all forms of trafficking through Article 382 of the 2009 Law on Trafficking in Human Beings, which prescribes penalties for convicted offenders ranging from three to 10 years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Under this statute, courts can sentence offenders below the prescribed minimum sentence of three years’ imprisonment. During the year, the government initiated prosecutions of at least nine new suspected trafficking offenders in 2012. The government reportedly convicted seven trafficking offenders in five separate cases and acquitted two suspects during the year, an increase from four convicted offenders in 2011. Three of the convicted offenders received fully suspended sentences, and sentences for the remaining four offenders ranged from twenty-one to fifty-four months imprisonment; however, courts partially suspended the majority of these sentences, resulting in orders of incarceration ranging from seven to forty-two months. For instance, the government prosecuted four suspected traffickers in a high profile case involving the sex trafficking of an estimated 95, mostly Estonian women in a nightclub in Remich dating back to 2008. Reports indicated the traffickers used violence and rape to coerce these victims into prostitution. While the cooperative investigation with Estonian authorities and subsequent prosecution resulted in the conviction of all four offenders, the court’s use of suspended sentences resulted in only seven to 18 months’ incarceration; one convicted defendant received no jail time. The government provided training to approximately 10 to 15 officials to improve investigative techniques on trafficking. In December 2012, the government initiated an investigation of trafficking-related complicity of public officials after authorities arrested three police officers for suspected pimping.
The Government of Luxembourg sustained its efforts to protect trafficking victims in 2012. The government identified 16 trafficking victims in 2012; this represents a decline from 25 identified victims in 2011. Victim identification was based on information revealed in prosecutions during the reporting year. The government reported that it has yet to establish a formal identification system to identify and refer victims for care, which not only hindered its overall anti-trafficking efforts but also resulted in inadequate protection and identification of victims, as well as insufficient data collection and reporting. Police were the only authorities permitted to carry out formal victim identification. Law enforcement reportedly used indicator checklists to help them identify trafficking victims in cabarets, apartments, and designated streets for prostitution, and labor inspectors reported using indicator checklists during labor inspections. Local observers, however, reported during the year the government placed trafficking victims in immigration detention centers for long periods of time, only to return them to their trafficking situations.
The government reported it provided assistance to victims in partnership with NGOs; while it allocated an equivalent of more than $14 million for general victim assistance, it did not provide a specific figure on assistance to victims of trafficking in 2012. The government, however, reported it provided assistance to one out of the 16 sex trafficking victims it identified in 2012 and referred this victim to an NGO for care. The government did not demonstrate that it provided any assistance or responsible repatriation to the victims in the Estonian prosecution that resulted in the conviction of four trafficking offenders in February 2013. The government reported it continued to rely on an ad hoc, informal practice of referring victims to NGOs for care, but it did not implement a May 2009 law that codifies procedures for the identification, referral, and provision of comprehensive assistance to trafficking victims. During the year the government did not institute a formal committee to monitor, develop, and standardize anti-trafficking efforts and to keep formal account of human trafficking statistics in Luxembourg. The government has yet to identify a single child victim of sex trafficking in Luxembourg or initiate a criminal prosecution for this offense. The government reported that one victim it identified subsequently cooperated in the investigation of his or her traffickers; however, most victim cooperation occurred immediately after arrest or rescue.
The Government of Luxembourg retained a stated policy of ensuring that victims are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked; however, country experts reported trafficking victims were arrested and detained, thus criminalized as a direct result of crimes committed under coercion. The government reported one trafficking victim was provided with a temporary residency permit in 2012. The government reported it considered multiple factors when determining the residency status of a victim, including the victim’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement and whether the victim was an EU or non-EU national. Only victims with EU citizenship were allowed access to the labor market in Luxembourg.
The government demonstrated some efforts to prevent trafficking during the reporting period. The government, in June 2012, funded and convened a general conference on the status of legalized prostitution in Luxembourg, but it did not initiate any trafficking specific awareness or prevention efforts during the reporting period. Despite previous calls by NGOs to develop anti-trafficking awareness campaigns specifically designed to educate the public and officials about the existence of human trafficking in Luxembourg, the government has not done so since 2008. Government agencies met on an ad hoc basis during the year. The government has a general 2009-2014 National Action Plan for Equality between Men and Women that includes some anti-trafficking elements, but has yet to develop or adopt a specific national action plan on trafficking. Also, it did not report explicitly on its anti-trafficking efforts to demonstrate transparency. The government did not report any child sex tourism prosecutions or prevention efforts during the reporting period. The government did not undertake any measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor in 2012.