Luxembourg is a destination country for men, women, and children, who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Victims of sex trafficking from Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America are reportedly forced into prostitution in cabarets, private apartments, and on the street. Forced labor, sometimes involving Chinese or Eastern or Southern European men, women, and children, occurs in various sectors, including restaurants and construction. Additionally, traffickers reportedly transport an unknown number of Roma children from neighboring countries during the daytime to engage in forced begging in Luxembourg. Groups vulnerable to trafficking include migrant workers in domestic work, catering, construction, and begging, as well as unaccompanied foreign children, and people in Luxembourg’s legal and illegal sex trade.
The Government of Luxembourg fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Longstanding concerns, including lenient punishment for trafficking offenders, the lack of a multidisciplinary approach to victim identification, and the absence of awareness campaigns continued during the reporting period. However, in March, Luxembourg issued a new Grand Ducal Decree (equivalent to an Executive Order) and Parliament passed a law transposing EU Directive 2011/36/EU into national legislation. These two legislative acts provide the basis for future improvements in Luxembourg’s anti-trafficking efforts.
Recommendations for Luxembourg:
Vigorously prosecute labor and sex trafficking offenses, including official complicity in human trafficking; punish offenders, including any complicit officials, with prison sentences proportionate to the gravity of human trafficking; consider ongoing anti-trafficking training on international standards and best practices targeted for the judicial branch; employ a multidisciplinary approach to the identification of victims by establishing a government-wide protocol to guide all front-line responders, including labor inspectors, immigration officials, removal center employees, health workers, child welfare officials, NGOs, and others in how to identify proactively all types of trafficking victims and refer them to available services and protection; consider revising the trafficking law, including Art. 382-1, to clarify that force, fraud, or coercion are core elements of the crime of trafficking of adults and are not required for the crime of facilitating child prostitution and to otherwise conform the provisions to international law; make efforts to train law enforcement that current law makes the procuring of a minor for prostitution a trafficking offense; implement a national campaign to raise awareness of forced labor, sex trafficking, and the demand for human trafficking, linked to a hotline with operators trained to assist; consider allowing non-EU victims access to Luxembourg’s labor market; consider ways to reward and ensure adequate resources are provided for police, labor inspectors, child welfare officials, NGOs, and others for proactively assisting victims and identifying labor and sex trafficking cases; and, collect data from all relevant government ministries on the number and types of suspected trafficking victims identified and offered government assistance.
The government demonstrated minimal progress to hold sex and labor trafficking offenders accountable with serious jail time during the reporting period. Luxembourg prohibits all forms of both sex and labor trafficking through Article 382-1 and 382-2 of the criminal code, although Article 382-1 is overly broad, and could be used to prosecute cases without force, fraud, or coercion, such as pimping. During the reporting period, the government passed legislation that explicitly prohibits forced begging. The prescribed penalties for trafficking offenses range from three to 10 years’ imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
Luxembourg City’s dedicated vice squad unit consisted of skilled officers, but it was small in size, had to cover a variety of crimes in addition to human trafficking, and was reportedly underfunded. During the year, authorities initiated six new trafficking investigations and prosecuted 13 alleged trafficking offenders, compared with at least nine prosecutions the previous year. The government convicted five sex trafficking offenders and no labor trafficking offenders during the reporting period, compared with seven trafficking offenders the previous year. Three of the offenders received only suspended sentences and fines, and the other two offenders received sentences of 18 months’ imprisonment and fines, compared with a slight majority of offenders receiving some jail time the previous year. The reported statistics reveal that convicted trafficking offenders continued to frequently avoid imprisonment, creating potential safety problems for victims and a weakened deterrence of trafficking offenses. According to authorities, the investigation following the 2012 arrest of three police officers for pimping remained ongoing and has not resulted in any court decisions, raising concerns about accountability for official complicity in human trafficking. The government funded an NGO-led training in 2013 for government officials and NGO participants on identifying and assisting trafficking victims and also funded four officials to participate in training sessions in other countries. Authorities suggested that the judicial branch could benefit from training to sensitize judges about human trafficking, including the challenges surrounding victim testimony.
The government demonstrated some progress in the protection of trafficking victims during the reporting period. As a result of ongoing prosecutions and convictions of traffickers in 2013, the government identified 14 trafficking victims during 2013, which continues a three-year decrease in victim identification when compared to 16 victims in 2012 and 25 victims in 2011. However, there are no reliable figures for how many victims the government identified through its own investigations or other assistance efforts, which makes it difficult to assess overall impact in victim assistance. The new legislation and executive decree passed in March mandated a national rapporteur for trafficking responsible for biannual reporting of government statistics, including data on victim identification and prosecutions. Authorities reported informally that they identified at least three suspected sex trafficking victims and no victims of forced labor during the reporting period. The government did not have a government-wide protocol to guide all front-line responders, including labor inspectors, immigration officials, removal center employees, health workers, child welfare officials, and others in how to identify proactively all types of trafficking victims and refer them to available services; however, the Luxembourg city’s vice unit practiced proactive victim identification and referred suspected victims to protection and assistance in accordance with Luxembourg’s trafficking victim assistance law. There is no clear statement in Luxembourg’s law that facilitating child prostitution is human trafficking; although facilitating the prostitution of a child is prohibited under Article 379, trafficking victim protection is tied to Article 382 and, as a result, children may have difficulty being identified as trafficking victims and accessing assistance.
The government’s new legislation codifies several previously ad hoc practices such as tutors for unaccompanied minor victims and six-month renewable residence permits for victims involved with trafficking investigations. The government reported it provided assistance, including shelter in facilities that offered freedom of movement, financial assistance, and medical, psychological, and therapeutic care to victims in partnership with NGOs. The government allocated the equivalent of approximately $15 million for general victim assistance, but did not provide a specific figure on assistance it gave to victims of trafficking in 2013. The government reportedly provided shelter and other services to two of the three identified victims during the reporting period, as well as to at least one suspected child forced labor victim identified by NGOs in 2012.
The government had policies in place to encourage trafficking victims to assist in the prosecution of trafficking offenders, including legal alternatives to removal to countries in which victims would face retribution or hardship. Trafficking victims were entitled to a 90-day reflection period to decide whether they wanted to testify as a witness in a trafficking case, and upon expiration of the reflection period, the Minister of Foreign Affairs had legal authority to issue a foreign victim a residence permit valid for six months. The government reported it considered multiple factors when determining the residency status of a victim, including the victim’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement and whether the victim was an EU or non-EU national. The government reportedly provided two trafficking victims with temporary residency permits in 2013 and long-term residency for one victim from a previous reporting period. According to the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) report published in 2014, Luxembourg has issued few residence permits to victims of trafficking since 2010. Only victims with EU citizenship were allowed access to the labor market in Luxembourg. Luxembourg law had explicit provisions to protect victims from punishment for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking. There were no reports during the year that victims were inappropriately punished.
The government demonstrated weak efforts in the prevention of human trafficking during the reporting period. Since 2008, Luxembourg has lacked a national anti-trafficking awareness campaign to educate the public and officials about the existence of sex trafficking and forced labor in the country. Officials and observers, including those from the Council of Europe, have noted a perceived past lack of political will to address human trafficking and minimization of the scope of the problem. The government’s inter-ministerial trafficking coordinating committee met periodically during the year. The government did not have an independent national rapporteur or other mechanism to report on its anti-trafficking efforts during the reporting period, but the new legislation passed in March appointed Luxembourg’s Consultative Commission for Human Rights as the national rapporteur on trafficking in persons to coordinate future efforts. The government still had not established a national action plan to combat trafficking in persons, nor did it undertake any measures to reduce demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor in 2013. The government did not report any child sex tourism prosecutions or take specific measures to reduce the participation in international sex tourism by its nationals during the reporting period.