LUXEMBOURG: Tier 1

The Government of Luxembourg fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period; therefore Luxembourg remained on Tier 1. The government demonstrated serious and sustained efforts by increasing investigations and prosecutions, identifying more victims and increasing resources and funding for victim assistance. Although the government meets the minimum standards, courts fully suspended most prison sentences for convicted traffickers, creating potential safety problems for trafficking victims, weakening deterrence, and undercutting nationwide efforts to fight trafficking.

PRIORITIZED RECOMMENDATIONS

Sentence traffickers with strong prison sentences and ensure convicted traffickers serve those sentences in practice. • Develop safeguards for victims to protect them against traffickers freed on suspended sentences. • Increase law enforcement efforts against labor trafficking. • Promote a victim centered approach in child victim identification procedures and refer all child victims to specialized youth shelters. • Revise the trafficking law to clarify that force, fraud, or coercion are core elements of the crime of trafficking of adults. • Provide all potential trafficking victims with the full suite of care services, regardless of their willingness to meet with police. • Increase the number of labor inspectors in the field. • Require victim identification training for labor inspectors. • Increase funding to NGOs to provide full-time availability for victim assistance. • Include measurable outcomes in the national action plan to assess its progress. • Fund and conduct trafficking research to create an evidence base for future policy decisions. • Establish a victim assistance hotline.

PROSECUTION

The government increased law enforcement efforts. Luxembourg criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking through Articles 382-1 and 382-2 of the criminal code and prescribed penalties of three to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine for trafficking offenses involving adult victims and 10 to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine for offenses involving child victims. These penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Inconsistent with the definition of trafficking under international law, the law established the use of force, fraud, or coercion as aggravating factors rather than essential elements of the crime.

In 2018, the government initiated 10 investigations (four of forced labor, five of sex trafficking, and one of forced begging of a minor), compared with seven investigations in 2017 (five of forced labor and two of sex trafficking). The government initiated six new prosecutions (one in 2017) and convicted seven for sex trafficking in 2018 (eight in 2017), and one for forced labor (zero in 2017). Courts issued weak sentences for trafficking convictions, a perennial problem that undercut efforts to hold traffickers accountable and protect victims. In addition, courts fully or partially suspended all sentences; they fully suspended six out of eight, requiring only two of the convicted traffickers to serve any prison time. The courts ordered all convicted traffickers to pay fines ranging from €500 to €20,000 ($570 to $22,940). The average effective prison term decreased for the third consecutive year to 10 months (15 months in 2017). In a 2018 appeal of a 2016 case, a court upheld convictions against two traffickers, but it reduced their sentences; one trafficker’s sentence was fully suspended and another trafficker’s €10,000 ($11,470) fine eliminated. In 2018, the police organized crime unit responsible for investigating trafficking increased its staff of investigators from 12 to 14. Through police reform efforts, the government made the victim protection unit independent from the organized crime unit to further separate victim assistance and investigations. In 2018, the government held three iterations of anti-trafficking and victim identification training attended by police, prosecutors, and judges. During the reporting period, the police mandated anti-trafficking training for all new recruits. Police and investigators participated in a joint investigation with Belgium for an ongoing trafficking investigation. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking offenses.

PROTECTION

The government increased efforts to protect victims. Authorities identified 14 trafficking victims (eight forced labor victims, five sex trafficking victims, and one forced begging victim), compared with 11 in 2017 (eight sex trafficking victims and three forced labor victims). All were foreign citizens, including 10 women, three men, and one boy. All victims received assistance from government-funded shelters. Labor officials reported labor inspectors continued to be chronically understaffed, despite a slight increase of personnel during the year, and not required to complete victim identification training, which negatively affected the proactive identification of forced labor victims. Labor inspectors have not identified a victim to date, as only police officers are legally entitled to do so, but inspectors have helped in their detection; the government’s ratio of field inspectors to workers is less than half of the ILO’s recommendation for highly industrialized countries. The government utilized a national mechanism for victim referral and provided €286,270 ($328,290) to the two NGOs responsible for coordinating trafficking victim care, an increase from €164,200 ($188,300) in 2017. This funding level enabled the two NGOs to operate a maximum combined total of 60 hours per week (40 hours in 2017). The two NGOs improved coordination over the reporting period but the limited operating hours continued to cause delays in victim assistance and hindered proactive operations. When the government identified victims outside operational hours, police could directly refer adult female and child victims to shelters; adult male victims could be housed temporarily in hotels until longer-term housing could be identified. NGOs reported instances where authorities placed children in youth detention centers when there was no space available in specialized shelters. Adult male victims received the same access to long-term accommodation and other victim services as adult female and child victims. Victims could leave the shelters unchaperoned and at will during opening hours of their respective shelter. The government also provided €6.8 million ($7.8 million) to assistance centers that provided shelter and assistance to adult female and child victims of crime, including trafficking victims, compared with €6.6 million ($7.57 million) in 2017. In 2018, the government signed new agreements with NGOs that increased shelter bed spaces for male and female adult victims. The government had legal alternatives to removal to countries in which victims would face retribution or hardship. 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 conferred the right to work, depending upon the victim’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement and whether the victim was an EU national. Victim assistance was not contingent on cooperating with an investigation; however, the police were the sole authority to officially identify a victim and refer to government assistance. Victims who refused to meet with police did not benefit from the full range of assistance. NGOs reported the police conducted too many interviews with child victims at the beginning of their identification process, which increased the risk of victim traumatization. Victims could participate in a witness protection program to ensure their security before, during, and after a trial. Victims could claim restitution from the government and file civil suits against traffickers. The government granted one victim restitution during the reporting period; the victim appealed on the grounds of insufficiency, but the court rejected the appeal.

PREVENTION

The government maintained prevention efforts. The government’s inter-ministerial trafficking committee, chaired by the Ministry of Justice, met four times in 2018 to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts and the national action plan. GRETA reported the national action plan, endorsed in 2016, is vague and lacked a timeframe on meeting objectives. In 2018, the government granted the inter-ministerial committee its own dedicated budget of €15,000 ($17,200) to fund awareness activities compared to €15,000 ($17,200 in 2017). The Advisory Committee on Human Rights served as the independent rapporteur and will produce its second biannual report in 2019. In 2018, the government trained civil servants by offering its basic and advanced level anti-trafficking courses. The government continued its annual multi-faceted awareness campaign across media and news outlets. GRETA reported the need to coordinate data collection across stakeholders as well as conduct research on trafficking, specifically on forced labor and child victims. From 2017 to 2019, the government provided €264,614 ($303,460) to an NGO for local awareness campaigns focused on the prevention of child sex tourism. Diplomats are encouraged, but not required, to attend anti-trafficking training. Labor law allowed for recruitment fees, but criminalized excessive amounts. A new law passed in 2018 made it illegal to steal, modify, damage, or destroy another person’s travel documents. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The government did not operate a victim assistance hotline.

TRAFFICKING PROFILE

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit foreign victims in Luxembourg. Traffickers exploit victims from Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America in sex trafficking operations in cabarets, private apartments, and on the street. Traffickers engage in forced labor crimes, sometimes involving Chinese, Pakistani, or eastern or southern European men, women, and children in various sectors, including restaurants and construction. Traffickers transport Romani children from neighboring countries for forced begging in Luxembourg. Groups vulnerable to traffickers’ illicit schemes 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.

U.S. Department of State

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