U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Austria
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||3 June 2005|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Austria, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d82fc.html [accessed 25 May 2013]|
Austria (Tier 1)
Austria is a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked from Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, particularly Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Belarus, and Ukraine, for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Those victims transiting are bound for other EU countries, especially Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. Trafficking in Romanian children decreased dramatically in 2004, mainly due to cooperation between Austrian and Romanian law enforcement authorities. Trafficking of Bulgarian children for the purposes of forced begging and stealing remains a problem.
The Government of Austria fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In November 2004, Austria upgraded its working group on trafficking, renaming it a "Task Force" and giving it official status and a mandate. While convictions decreased, the number of trafficking investigations and cases filed under Austria's amended criminal code increased. The Austrian Government should consider giving greater funding to NGOs that assist larger numbers of trafficking victims each year, and expanding its prevention program to include domestic demand-reduction programs. It should also increase its ability to provide police protection to victims willing to testify and focus more efforts on convicting and sentencing traffickers.
Austrian authorities filed trafficking cases against 348 suspects in 2004, 106 of whom were charged under Austria's May 2004 article against trafficking. Convictions of traffickers dropped, however, from 27 in 2002 to 11 in 2003 – the most recent conviction statistics available. Each of the 11 convicted served a prison sentence; sentences ranged from six months to three years. The police academy provided police cadets with a one-day training course on trafficking. In January 2005, the Ministry of Justice held a training conference on trafficking for approximately 75 Austrian judges, public prosecutors, police, and officials from the Ministries of Interior and Justice. During the reporting period, there was no evidence that government authorities were complicit in the trafficking of persons. Austrian law enforcement authorities worked closely with police authorities in several source countries where trafficking victims originated. In particular, intense cooperation to stem trafficking in persons continued with Romanian authorities and with the Hungarian border police.
The Austrian Government maintained its strong trafficking victim protection efforts, and increased the number of victims reached over the last year. The Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Health and Women funded Austria's primary anti-trafficking NGO, which assisted 167 trafficking victims in 2004, up from 142 victims in 2003. Of those 167 victims, 37 stayed in the NGO's shelter, with the median stay being 11 to 20 weeks. The government did not keep statistics on the number of temporary residence permits issued to trafficking victims. However, the primary anti-trafficking NGO noted that 14 out of the 17 trafficking victims that requested temporary residence permits received them. Continued residence for trafficking victims is possible in certain cases. Trafficking victims identified by trained police officers, or with the help of an NGO if police suspect trafficking, received full rights under Austrian law and access to the Austrian social system for the duration of the case. Austria's principal shelter provided secure housing for trafficking victims while in Austria. No trafficking victims were under witness protection status in 2004.
In early 2005, Austria initiated a domestic anti-trafficking campaign; the State television broadcaster began airing UN public service announcements to raise trafficking awareness and reach out to trafficking victims. The Foreign Ministry continued to distribute information packets through Austrian embassies in Eastern Europe to potential trafficking victims to inform them of where to go to get help in Austria. The Austrian Government did not include domestic demand-reduction programs as part of its overall prevention efforts. During the reporting period, the Austrian Government worked with the Romanian Government to train victim assistance personnel through an exchange between shelters in Vienna and Bucharest. Austria has no national action plan or public planning document to fight trafficking.