Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 11:51 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - France

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - France, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 24 May 2016]
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 trafficking victims, primarily women from Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, for the purposes of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. French police estimate that 90% of the 15,000-18,000 prostitutes working in France are trafficking victims, and that 3,000-8,000 children are forced into prostitution and labor, including begging. To a lesser extent, France is a transit country for trafficked women from Africa, South and Central American, and Eastern and Southern Europe. Nigerian trafficking networks are expanding their activities in France. There are reports of Chinese and Colombian men trafficked into bonded or forced labor. Trafficking of Brazilian women and girls into sexual exploitation in French Guiana is a serious problem.

The Government of France fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. France passed comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in 2003 and arrests for trafficking offenses rose during the reporting period, but convictions under new trafficking legislation were not yet finalized and enforcement could not be measured. The French Government should cooperate with Brazil on combating sex trafficking of Brazilian women to French Guiana and investigate the extent, if any, of trafficking in its other overseas territories.


The government reinforced its anti-trafficking police investigation team and strengthened inter-national cooperation. France's anti-trafficking law criminalizes trafficking for sexual and non-sexual exploitation, with penalties of up to seven years in prison and a fine of about $190,000. Penalties for soliciting child prostitutes range up to 10 years. Trafficking-related sentencing guidelines, such as rape, and the sentences for some types of trafficking convictions were light. The exploitation of foreign labor and exposing laborers to inhumane conditions were criminal offenses under other statutes. Employers could be punished by up to three years' imprisonment or substantial fines. In 2003, France's special anti-trafficking police unit arrested 709 individuals on trafficking-related charges, an increase of 66% over the previous year. The organizers of 32 trafficking networks were arrested, including 15 large-scale organized prostitution networks. Police arrested 67 adults for organizing child prostitution and begging after two child victims provided information to counselors. While conviction statistics had not yet been reported for 2003, records from 2002 revealed over 300 convictions for trafficking-related crimes, with maximum sentences of nearly 5 years' imprisonment. The government increased funding and staff for its specialized anti-trafficking police unit. The Paris Prefecture created a special investigative unit to deal with trafficking networks. The government cooperated actively with other countries, such as Bulgaria.


The government continued to screen and refer victims to counseling centers and safe houses for comprehensive services. The government offered victims three to six months' renewable temporary residency according to an assessment of needs and cooperation with police. Cooperating victims were guaranteed a residency extension; if cooperation led to a conviction, a 10 year extension could be granted. In 2003, the government reported that 120-140 victims were granted temporary residency in return for providing information to police. Child victims were assumed to be in danger and provided immediate shelter while the government determined the child's long-term best interests. French police worked closely with NGOs to which it referred prostitutes for screening and assistance. The government funded a special reintegration program with Bulgaria to repatriate Bulgarian victims who were placed with an NGO in Bulgaria for shelter and assistance.


The government focused outreach and prevention programs on domestic prostitution and sex tourism abroad. The Prime Minister's inter-ministerial commission on clandestine workers and illegal labor continued its work, and a new inter-ministerial working group on sex tourism began work on recommendations for the Tourism Ministry. In 2003, Air France, a government-owned carrier, provided a portion of the in-flight duty-free sales of toys, amounting to almost $350,000, to an international NGO conducting awareness programs on child sex tourism. The government provided funding to NGOs conducting outreach to women in sexual servitude, and to organizations fighting child prostitution. The government also funded trafficking prevention programs in Central and Eastern Europe and West Africa. Within the EU, the government supported anti-trafficking programs, including information campaigns, seminars, bilateral training programs for police units and lawmakers, and assigned criminal liaison officers throughout Europe to identify trafficking networks.

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