The government increased efforts to protect victims. Authorities identified nine trafficking victims (six forced labor victims and three sex trafficking victims), compared with 14 in 2018, and 11 in 2017. All were foreign citizens, including seven women and two men. Two foreign victims were exploited in another country but received assistance in Luxembourg. Although NGOs reported labor inspectors continued to be chronically understaffed, the labor inspectorate increased its staffing in 2019; the number for field inspectors increased to 29 compared with 22 in 2018. The majority of labor inspectors received anti-trafficking training. In 2019, the government hired additional labor inspectors who were undergoing new recruit training. The government’s national rapporteur on trafficking reported the labor inspectorate did not identify any victims despite investigations in highly vulnerable areas such as construction, domestic work, catering, and transportation. Labor inspectors did not have clear victim identification protocols and are not able to identify victims under Luxembourg law, but an increased number of inspectors received training and helped in victim detection by referring cases to law enforcement; the government’s ratio of field inspectors to workers is less than half of the ILO’s recommendation for highly industrialized countries.
All victims received assistance from government-funded shelters. The government utilized a national mechanism for victim referral and provided €359,420 ($403,850) to the two NGOs responsible for coordinating trafficking victim care, an increase from the 2018 amount of €286,270 ($321,650). The two NGOs continued to operate a maximum combined total of 60 hours per week; 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. Adult male victims could receive 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 €7.5 million ($8.4 million) to assistance centers that provided shelter and assistance to adult female and child victims of crime, including trafficking victims, compared with €6.8 million ($7.64 million) in 2018. The government further provided €98,860 ($111,080) to an NGO responsible for coordinating male trafficking victim care.
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 had the sole authority to officially identify a victim and refer to government assistance. Victims who refused to cooperate with police did not benefit from a temporary authorization to stay, but otherwise received the full range of assistance. In December 2019, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Belgium signed a declaration of intent to strengthen their joint efforts in combating trafficking in persons, particularly to protect non-EU victims exploited in a territory other than that of the country where they seek help and assistance. 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 of €2,000 ($2,250) during the reporting period.