Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Germany

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 4 June 2008
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Germany, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a1823.html [accessed 12 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

GERMANY (Tier 1)

Germany is a transit and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, including in the construction industry, in restaurants and ice cream parlors, and as domestic servants. Victims are trafficked primarily from Central and Eastern Europe – including the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, and Russia – and Nigeria to and through Germany to the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries. In 2006 – the latest available statistics – 23 percent of the victims of commercial sexual exploitation were German nationals trafficked within the country. German nationals traveled to Thailand, Vietnam, and other countries for the purpose of child sex tourism.

The Government of Germany fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In 2007, the government enacted the Victims Compensation Act which now provides trafficking victims with access to psychological counseling and treatment. Germany continued to build on strategies implemented in conjunction with the 2006 Soccer World Cup Championship to raise public awareness and to improve the effectiveness of efforts to combat trafficking. Best practices and lessons learned were shared with EU member states, as well as other countries planning to host large-scale sporting events.

Recommendations for Germany: Explore ways, within the parameters of the German judicial system, to continue to increase the number of convicted traffickers who serve time in prison; take steps to provide more even distribution of funding for victim services among individual states; improve efforts to identify and combat labor trafficking; and consider establishing national trafficking rapporteurs in key regions around the country.

Prosecution

The German government demonstrated adequate law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. Germany prohibits all forms of trafficking; trafficking for sexual exploitation is criminalized in Section 232 of its Penal Code, and forced labor is criminalized under Section 233. Other laws are also used to prosecute trafficking cases. Penalties prescribed for trafficking for both sexual exploitation and for forced labor range from six months to ten years' imprisonment and are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties for other grave crimes, such as rape. It is common practice for judges to suspend sentences of two years or less for all crimes, including trafficking. In 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, police concluded 353 sex trafficking investigations and initiated 78 forced labor investigations, compared to 317 total investigations concluded in 2005. German authorities prosecuted 175 individuals under Section 232, and 18 under Section 233, an increase from 183 prosecutions in 2005. In 2006, 138 traffickers were convicted under Section 232, 11 traffickers were convicted under Section 233, and one under Section 233(a), an increase from 136 convictions in 2005. Of the traffickers convicted in 2006, 33 percent – 49 of 150 – received prison sentences that were not suspended, a slight improvement from 2005 when only 31 percent – 42 of 136 convicted traffickers – received prison sentences that were not suspended. In October 2007, the Family Ministry published guidelines for use by police, prosecutors, judges, and counseling centers to improve victim identification and to better equip them to respond to the special needs of trafficking victims.

Protection

Germany continued to provide adequate victim assistance during the reporting period. In January 2007, the government enacted a new law allowing trafficking victims three years to file civil claims against confiscated trafficking assets; previously, proceeds confiscated from traffickers were returned to the perpetrators three months after their conviction if no claim was filed. The number of victims who applied for and received confiscated trafficking assets in 2006 was unavailable at the time of this report; however, authorities seized assets amounting to nearly $3.4 million in 2006. Authorities identified a total of 858 victims – 775 victims of sexual exploitation and 83 victims of labor exploitation – in 2006, up from 642 victims identified in 2005. The government funded 38 NGOs that provided shelter, assistance, and facilitated protection for victims of trafficking. Victims are encouraged to assist law enforcement with trafficking investigations and prosecutions. In August 2007, Germany formally codified the granting of a 30-day reflection period for foreign victims of trafficking who do not have valid immigration status in Germany; victims who assist law enforcement with investigations and prosecutions are eligible to stay in Germany for the duration of the trial. The government may grant permanent residence permits to those victims who face hardship or retribution upon return to their home country. Victims are not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.

Prevention

Germany demonstrated adequate progress in its trafficking prevention efforts, and it demonstrated its strong commitment to combat child sex tourism during the last year. The government continued to fund a number of NGOs performing public awareness both in Germany and abroad, targeting both potential victims and potential clients of trafficking victims. Public awareness programs included flyer and petition campaigns, radio and television public service announcements, and internet and print media campaigns. Prostitution is legal in Germany; however, the Family Minister said in a public statement in 2007 that the German government does not consider prostitution a suitable form of employment and noted the Ministry's primary goal is to help individuals get out of prostitution. In 2007, several states continued to fund awareness campaigns targeted specifically at clients to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Germany ensures that all peacekeepers receive trafficking awareness training prior to deployment abroad.

German law permits the extraterritorial prosecution of German nationals who travel abroad to engage in child commercial sexual exploitation. The government funded two NGO-implemented domestic campaigns to raise awareness about child sex tourism, targeted at both deterring potential clients and also encouraging German tourists to report suspicious activities to law enforcement. The campaigns included the distribution of flyers to tour operators, briefings for employees in the tourism sector, and an internet website with relevant identification and reporting information. Germany also funded an NGO to implement training courses for 600 law enforcement and migration officers in Guatemala to assist in the recognition of sexual exploitation of children in tourism. Since 2006, German law enforcement has increased cooperation with officials in Southeast Asia to investigate German sex tourists operating outside of Germany and to facilitate the prosecution of perpetrators both in Germany and in destination countries where the crimes are committed. For example, German citizens were arrested in Cambodia and Thailand for child sex tourism with the assistance of German law enforcement.

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