Last Updated: Friday, 21 November 2014, 13:47 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - France

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 June 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - France, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3b123.html [accessed 22 November 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.

France (Tier 1)

France is a destination country for women and girls trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Cameroon are the primary source countries for women trafficked for sexual exploitation, although increasing numbers of mainland Chinese women and girls are trafficked to France. A majority of the estimated 18,000 women in France's commercial sex trade are probably victims of trafficking. Some women who migrate to France voluntarily for work are deceived or coerced into sexual servitude or debt bondage. During 2006, the ratio of Eastern European sex trafficking victims fell, while the percentages of African, South American, and Asian women trafficked to France increased. The Committee Against Modern Slavery (CCEM) estimated that one-fifth of involuntary domestic servitude cases in France involve abusive employers who are diplomats with diplomatic immunity.

The Government of France fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. France works closely and proactively with Eastern European countries to combat trafficking. During the reporting period, the French government initiated contacts with some African countries, with the aim of reducing trafficking. The government should enhance training to encourage the vigorous investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases with the anti-trafficking statute when appropriate. The government should continue to aggressively prosecute trafficking cases and ensure that traffickers receive sentences consistent with the heinous nature of the offense.

Prosecution

The Government of France continued progress in combating trafficking in persons during 2006. France prohibits trafficking for both sexual and labor exploitation through Article 225 of its penal code, which prescribes penalties that are sufficiently stringent and exceed those for rape. Prosecutors continued to apply the anti-pimping laws in lieu of the anti-trafficking provision in sex trafficking cases because the prosecutors are accustomed to using them, and because the penalties for both (including cases involving aggravating circumstances) are basically identical. The government reported high numbers of pimping arrests and prosecutions in 2006, but it is unclear how many of these are trafficking cases, since the government does not disaggregate sentencing data by crime. Of 55 persons convicted of "aggravated pimping involving a minor," only eight were convicted solely on this count; seven of those received a prison term, serving an average of little more than 25 months each. The CCEM is currently working on cases for 89 victims of involuntary domestic servitude in various stages of the judicial process, 39 of these cases were new in 2006. In February 2007, 10 traffickers and 41 French "buyers" were convicted and sentenced for "trade in human beings." In April 2007, five members of an extended family network involved in forcing up to 60 homeless people to work under inhumane conditions in Paris and Marseille were sentenced to terms of four years and 1.5 million euro in fines under the anti-trafficking law. There were also two convictions in 2006 of French citizens for sex tourism abroad; they resulted in prison sentences of eight and 10 years. The government increased law enforcement cooperation with Bulgaria and Romania. There was no indication of trafficking-related complicity among French government officials.

Protection

The Government of France continued to protect and assist victims of trafficking in 2006. The government encourages victim participation in the investigation of traffickers, and victims may file civil complaints against traffickers. A trafficking victim who files a complaint against a trafficker or testifies against him or her is eligible for a temporary three-month residency card and a work permit. The temporary card can be renewed for another three months and again for a period of six months. Moreover, an Interior Ministry circular of 2005 authorized authorities not to return trafficking victims to countries where they will suffer mistreatment. The government does not provide information on how many of these permits it issues, as they are provided through mayor's offices and not tabulated nationally. However, the figure in 2005 was over 300 permits issued in Paris alone. If the trafficker is convicted, the victim is eligible for a permanent residency card. Occasionally women in prostitution are arrested and fined for solicitation without being screened to determine whether they are victims. The government and City of Paris fund comprehensive services and long-term shelter facilities for trafficking victims through the Accompaniment Places of Welcome (ALC). The ALC network of 33 NGOs provides victim services in 36 shelters across France. In 2006, the ALC received notifications on 58 trafficking victims in need of shelter and placed 52 victims in 25 shelters with six victims returned to their country of origin.

Prevention

France continued to demonstrate efforts to raise awareness and prevent trafficking in persons in 2006. In early 2007, the government sponsored its first-ever nationwide conference that brought together enforcement officials, magistrates, and NGOs to discuss how better to improve communication and cooperation in protecting victims and preventing trafficking. The government continued its participation in an anti-trafficking awareness campaign that used posters calling attention to the reality that women in prostitution in France may be victims of trafficking. The government also funded television ad campaigns on all the major channels on child prostitution and sex tourism. The government continued funding an NGO-run anti-child sex tourism campaign on Air France flights. In 2006, the Ministry of Tourism instituted a program to combat sex tourism by French citizens and residents. All tourism students in France must do course work on sex tourism. In September 2006, anti-trafficking police officials were assigned to 12 French embassies in countries with well-known sex tourism trades in an attempt to prosecute offenders, raise official awareness of the problem, and increase cooperation with those countries.

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