The government increased protection efforts. The government increased efforts to identify victims among migrants and asylum-seekers and in shelters for unaccompanied minors, providing training to border officials, NGOs, and directly to migrants. Police conducted raids and screenings in brothels to proactively locate victims. Police and other government institutions, in cooperation with NGOs, identified and assisted 327 foreign victims in 2017, an increase from 301 victims in 2016, although not disaggregated by gender in the official statistics. Eight of the victims were children, and 54 victims were not identified by age. NGOs reported assisting 65 male victims. The government provided €876,000 ($1.05 million) to specialized anti-trafficking NGOs to assist and house victims, compared to €892,000 ($1.07 million) in 2016 and €832,000 ($998,800) in 2015. The government also provided €415,000 ($498,200) to two NGO-run counseling centers for male trafficking victims and undocumented migrants, compared to €400,000 ($480,190) in 2016. Government funding comprised the bulk of these organizations’ budgets. The city of Vienna funded a government-run center for unaccompanied minors, including child trafficking victims, and offered legal, medical, psychological, social, and language assistance. Services for child victims were also available in cities throughout the provinces. Youth welfare authorities in the provinces continued to receive training from NGOs on identification of victims, with sessions held in three cities during 2017. For adult trafficking victims, government-funded NGOs provided emergency shelter, medical care, psychological care, language assistance, and legal assistance; some NGOs offered specialized services for victims with physical or mental disabilities. Foreign victims were entitled to the same care available to domestic victims. NGO staff helped victims prepare for court proceedings and assisted foreign victims with repatriation. Victims in particular need of protection during the investigation and prosecution phases were afforded special interview methods, and could be accompanied by a trusted person.
The national trafficking task force implemented a comprehensive national referral mechanism and guidelines for the identification of child victims, although the task force had not yet implemented a comparable mechanism for adults. Government officials from multiple agencies and NGOs used guidelines and checklists to identify trafficking both child and adult victims proactively. Under a government-funded program, NGOs trained 68 immigration officials on victim identification, including those at federal migrant reception centers. The government also continued a wide range of trainings for law enforcement, the labor inspectorate, military officials, diplomatic services, detention and asylum center staffs, revenue agency authorities, and social service providers to more effectively identify victims.
Trafficking victims had the right to temporary residence status that could be extended each year, and residence permits allowed victims unconditional access to the labor market. Government benefits were not linked to their willingness to participate in the prosecution of their perpetrator, and victims were also granted a 30-day reflection period to receive assistance and decide whether to cooperate in investigations. The justice ministry reported 125 victims assisted with prosecutions during 2017. Victims were able to file civil suits against traffickers for damages and compensation, even in the absence of a criminal prosecution, and upon a conviction, courts also typically awarded restitution. The government provided legal aid for victims unable to afford their own legal representation.