LUXEMBOURG: Tier 1
The Government of Luxembourg fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government made key achievements to do so during the reporting period; therefore, Luxembourg was upgraded to Tier 1. These achievements included increasing the number of prosecutions and convictions, finalizing and adopting a written national referral mechanism, enhancing the number of dedicated personnel to anti-trafficking positions, funding and launching an awareness campaign, and adopting a national action plan. Although the government meets the minimum standards, courts suspended the majority of sentences for convicted traffickers, creating potential safety problems for trafficking victims, weakening deterrence, and undercutting efforts of police and prosecutors.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LUXEMBOURG
Vigorously prosecute, convict, and sentence labor and sex traffickers with sufficiently stringent prison sentences; 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; continue to partner with and increase funding to NGOs to provide expedient victim assistance; ease requirements for non-EU trafficking victims to work in Luxembourg; continue to make resources available to law enforcement and government officials to proactively identify and assist victims and investigate labor and sex trafficking cases; and continue to work collaboratively with, and make resources available to, the national rapporteur to critically assess efforts and make recommendations to improve the government’s response to human trafficking.
The government increased 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 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 initiating 10 investigations, the same number as the previous reporting period; eight cases were for sex trafficking and two for forced labor. The government initiated five new prosecutions, compared with two prosecutions in 2015. The government convicted 11 traffickers for sex trafficking in 2016, an increase compared with five in 2015. The courts suspended the majority of prison sentences in 2016, resulting in insufficiently stringent penalties which weaken deterrence of trafficking offenses. Six traffickers received fully suspended sentences and fines ranging from €1,000 to €10,000 ($1,050 to $10,530). Four traffickers received partially suspended sentences and were ordered to serve between six and 25 months in prison. Three of these four traffickers were also ordered to pay up to €15,000 ($15,810) in fines. One trafficker had a prior criminal record and received a full sentence of two years imprisonment and a fine of €10,000 ($10,530). During the reporting period, Luxembourg, in partnership with Belgium and the Netherlands, hosted three trainings and conferences for government officials, including police and prosecutors, and victim assistance NGOs to increase regional cooperation. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses.
The government increased efforts to protect trafficking victims. Authorities identified three victims of forced labor, compared with two female victims of sex trafficking in the previous reporting period. All of the victims were foreign citizens; two of the victims were adult males and the third victim was a minor female. The government increased dedicated anti-trafficking personnel with one new staff member at the Directorate of Immigration and a part-time position within the police for victim identification. The government finalized and adopted a written national referral mechanism for front-line responders in December 2016. The government launched a quarterly training at the National Institute for Public Administration for government officials and NGOs to raise awareness on trafficking indicators and the national referral mechanism; during the reporting period, the government trained 52 officials. The government continued to fund victim assistance. For the first time, the government reported disaggregated funding data of €142,000 ($149,600) provided to two NGOs to coordinate trafficking victim care and €6.4million ($6.7 million) to assistance centers that provided shelter and assistance to adult female and child victims of crime, including trafficking victims. Through government funding, the two NGOs were able to increase their joint availability to receive victims from 30 to 40 hours per week. If victims were identified outside of these hours, police could directly refer adult female and child victims to shelters for care; however, adult male victims identified outside of the NGOs’ work hours were temporarily housed in hotels until longer-term housing could be identified. Adult male victims received the same access to long-term accommodation and other victim services as adult female and child victims. During the reporting period, all three newly identified victims and four victims identified in an earlier period received assistance. The government had policies in place to encourage trafficking victims to assist in the prosecution of traffickers, 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, which confers the right to work, depending upon the victim’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement and whether the victim was an EU national. Victims were entitled to participate in a witness protection program to ensure their security before, during, and after a trial, and in February 2017 Parliament enacted a law on judicial protection of victims guaranteeing standards on rights and support. There were no reports authorities penalized victims for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking.
The government increased its prevention efforts. During the reporting period, the government adopted national action plans on human trafficking and also on prostitution, which included actions against sex trafficking. The government’s inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the Ministry of Justice, met six times in 2016 to coordinate its anti-trafficking efforts. The government-funded a public audiovisual awareness campaign for €90,000 ($94,840), which was launched in December 2016. The government collaborated with regional partners on an initiative against forced labor, including through the launch of a website in February 2017 that provided suggestions for government action and best practices. The national rapporteur on trafficking in persons finalized its first biannual report and presented it to a parliamentary justice commission in March 2017. The government provided €30,000 ($31,610) to the UN voluntary trust fund on contemporary forms of slavery for 2016 and 2017 and provided funding for multiple development assistance programs in other countries, some of which contained anti-trafficking components. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor. The government provided funding for an NGO-run website focused on the prevention of child sex tourism. The government provided anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel; however, participation in the course is voluntary.
As reported over the past five years, 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.