The government increased protection efforts. The government identified 1,118 sex trafficking and aggravated pimping victims in 2016, compared to 712 in 2015. The victims identified in 2016 included 323 French, 202 Chinese, 114 Nigerian, 104 Romanian, and 375 were other nationalities. The government had a formal procedure for identifying victims and an NGO-run referral mechanism. The Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Health, and the City of Paris provided funding for the Ac-Se system, an NGO-managed network of 50 NGO-run shelters assisting adult victims of sex and labor trafficking. Ac-Se assisted 82 trafficking victims in 2016, compared with 92 in 2015, by providing them with shelter, legal, medical, and psychological services. Seventy-nine were victims of sex trafficking, two of labor trafficking, and one was forced to commit a petty crime. Seventy-three percent of those victims were Nigerian. The government repatriated eight victims to multiple countries. The government increased Ac-Se’s budget from €170,000 to €220,000 ($179,140 to $231,820) for 2017. Local governments provided French language classes to victims, and some victims could qualify for subsidized housing and job training programs. The government provided victims €350 ($370) as an initial stipend, and €100 ($110) per month thereafter. The central and municipal governments also partially funded the operation of a shelter in Paris and a small number of emergency apartments external to the Ac-Se system. The Mission for the Protection of Women against Violence and the Fight Against Human Trafficking (MIPROF) signed a pilot convention in October 2016 with an NGO, the Paris regional court, the Paris police, the Paris City Hall, and the Paris city council that will provide several places of accommodation in Paris dedicated to sex trafficking victims. MIPROF signed another pilot convention in June 2016 with an NGO, the Paris regional court, the Paris police, the Paris City Hall, the Paris Bar Association, the MOJ, and the Inter-ministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalization (CIPDR) that will provide training on identifying, integrating, educating, and housing child victims of trafficking. The convention provided additional secure accommodation for child trafficking victims. The care centers are run by child welfare services and provided access to health care, schooling, and rehabilitation and were equipped with specialized staff trained by MIPROF to educate and rehabilitate child trafficking victims. During the reporting period, 45 child trafficking victims benefitted from the special care centers. The government continued to operate a hotline for children in abusive situations, including trafficking. In 2015, hotline operators received 16 calls related to modern slavery. Ac-Se operated a separate hotline during the reporting period. In 2016, Ac-Se operators referred 82 trafficking cases for additional Ac-Se assistance, which assisted 76 individuals, including six children. The MOJ partnered with Ac-Se to train front-line responders, including labor inspectors and social workers, on the identification and referral of trafficking victims.
The government had an NGO-run referral program to transfer victims detained, arrested, or placed in protective custody by law enforcement authorities to institutions that provided short-term care. A June 2016 law on organized crime and terrorism extended and strengthened the witness protection program for witnesses and their relatives in cases involving organized crime, including human trafficking. The April 2016 Law to Strengthen the Fight Against Prostitution allows the criminal trials for trafficking or aggravated pimping to be heard in private at the victim’s request. NGOs reported children arrested or detained for soliciting or theft were not always screened for trafficking indicators by law enforcement officials. The law provides for a 30-day reflection period for identified victims, regardless of whether they choose to cooperate with law enforcement or not; however, some authorities were not familiar with the reflection period and did not offer it. Victims were eligible for temporary residence permits, regardless of whether they cooperated with police investigations. Trafficking victims were also eligible for international protection under refugee status or subsidiary protection status in cases where victims had a credible fear of retaliation, including from public authorities in their country of origin, if returned. Victims were eligible to receive restitution through the Crime Victims Compensation Program. In October, a labor court found in favor of five undocumented Moroccan workers in a civil case against their employer, awarding the plaintiffs between €20,000 ($21,070) and €50,000 ($52,690) in back-pay, paid leave, and damages for forced labor in a sawmill. The compensation request process often took several years to complete, and many victims had requests in progress.