The government increased efforts to protect victims. Authorities identified seven trafficking victims (six forced labor victims and one sex trafficking victim), compared with nine in 2019 and 14 in 2018. All were foreign citizens, including five men and two women; four of the victims were from Portugal. Police presumed an additional three foreign national labor trafficking victims; however, the potential victims declined to participate in an investigation and did not request or accept assistance services. The police had the sole authority to officially identify a victim and refer them to government assistance. Although NGOs continued to report the labor inspectorate was understaffed and the government’s ratio of field inspectors to workers was less than half of the ILO’s recommendation for highly industrialized countries, observers credited labor inspectors with increased recruitment and inspection efforts during the reporting period. However, labor inspectors did not have clear victim identification protocols and were not authorized to identify victims under Luxembourg law but could refer victims to the police; during the reporting period the labor inspectorate increased its cooperation with police including through joint investigations. A joint investigation in September and October 2020 led to the identification of four labor trafficking victims. Due to the pandemic, the government did not train labor inspectors during the reporting period.
Government-funded victim services included housing, psychological support, medical, legal, and financial assistance. The government utilized a national mechanism for victim referral and provided €461,500 ($566,260) in 2020 to the two NGOs responsible for coordinating trafficking victim care, an increase from the 2019 amount of €359,420 ($441,010). The two government-funded NGOs provided shelter to 16 trafficking victims during the reporting period. In January 2021, the two NGOs increased their operating hours to a maximum combined total of 100 hours per week from 60 hours per week; the two NGOs also combined resources during the reporting period, to include operating a joint office space and creating a single contact number. These measures facilitated better access to care for victims, although 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 €8.4 million ($10.31 million) to assistance centers that provided shelter and assistance to victims of crime, including trafficking victims, compared with €7.5 million ($9.2 million) in 2019. The government further provided €96,960 ($118,970) to an NGO responsible for providing shelter to male trafficking victims. In an effort to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, the government funded the temporary housing of victims in hotel rooms before transferring them to shelters.
The government had legal alternatives to removal to countries in which victims would face retribution or hardship and provided relief from deportation for medical reasons. 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 if the victim chose to cooperate with law enforcement, during which time all victims could work. The government assessed on a case-by-case basis the residency status of victims who did not cooperate with law enforcement. Victim assistance was not contingent on cooperating with an investigation. Victims who declined to cooperate with police did not benefit from a temporary authorization to stay but otherwise received the full range of assistance. During the pandemic, the government extended residence permits for all migrant workers. Immigration officials used a questionnaire to proactively screen asylum-seekers for trafficking indicators; the government did not detect potential trafficking victims amongst asylum-seekers in 2020. The government continued working with the Netherlands and Belgium to strengthen their joint efforts in combating trafficking, particularly to protect non-EU victims exploited in a territory other than that of the country where they seek help and assistance. Moreover, the three governments published an updated brochure to raise awareness amongst the public and potential victims about anti-trafficking legislation and referral and assistance programs in each of the three countries. In December 2020, the government passed legislation to guarantee legal aid, regardless of nationality or residency status, to all persons recognized as victims who have insufficient resources and choose to pursue civil action. Victims could participate in a witness protection program to ensure their security before, during, and after a trial. Victims could claim compensation from the government and file civil suits against traffickers. The government did not grant compensation during the reporting period; in 2019, courts granted €2,000 ($2,450) to a victim in a civil suit.