Last Updated: Monday, 01 September 2014, 14:30 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Austria

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 - Austria, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a01c.html [accessed 2 September 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.

AUSTRIA (Tier 1)

Austria is a transit and destination country for women trafficked from Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, and Nigeria for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Some of these women are trafficked through Austria to Italy, France, and Spain. Women from Africa are trafficked through Spain and Italy to Austria for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Authorities report a decrease in the number of children from Bulgaria and Romania trafficked to Austria for the purposes of forced petty theft and sexual exploitation.

The Government of Austria fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In 2007, Austria provided generous funding to prevention programs in source countries. Austrian Police conducted several investigations with other European governments, resulting in the successful disruption of several large-scale human trafficking networks.

Recommendations for Austria: Continue to ensure a majority of convicted traffickers serve adequate time in prison; continue to improve victim identification by further sensitizing law enforcement and judicial personnel to the indicators of human trafficking; continue to collect comprehensive national law enforcement trafficking statistics; and continue to take measures to reduce domestic demand for commercial sex acts.

Prosecution

The Austrian government continued to demonstrate anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the reporting period. Article 104(a) of the Austrian Criminal Code prohibits trafficking for both sexual exploitation and forced labor. Prosecutors typically use Articles 104(a) and 217 of the criminal code as well as Article 114 of the Aliens Police Act to prosecute traffickers. Penalties prescribed in Article 104(a) and Article 114 range up to 10 years' imprisonment while penalties in Article 217 range from six months' to 10 years' imprisonment. These sentences are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2007, police conducted 89 trafficking investigations, compared to 93 investigations conducted in 2006. Authorities conducted 222 prosecutions in 2007, up from 137 the previous year. Conviction data for 2007 was unavailable at the time of this report; however, in 2006, Austrian courts convicted 18 trafficking offenders, down from 25 convictions in 2005. In 2006, 13 out of 18 convicted traffickers served some time in prison; six traffickers served one to six months' imprisonment, six traffickers served six to 12 months' imprisonment, and one trafficker served one to three years' imprisonment.

Protection

Austria sustained its victim assistance efforts during the reporting period. The government continued to fund a key anti-trafficking NGO that provided shelter and assistance to victims in Vienna; federal and local governments also funded seven immigration and domestic abuse centers that assisted victims outside of Vienna. Victims have access to the Austrian social system including health insurance. Police referred many of the 170 victims assisted by NGOs in 2007, compared to 90 victim referrals in 2006. Thirty-three victims were provided with government-provided shelter in 2007. The government encourages victims to assist with investigations and prosecutions of traffickers. Austria provides victims with a 30-day reflection period, a time for victims to receive immediate care and assistance while they consider whether to assist law enforcement. Victims who agree to cooperate with law enforcement qualify for temporary residence visas, although the number of trafficking victims granted temporary visas in 2007 was unknown. Victims who are not identified by authorities are sometimes involuntarily repatriated.

Prevention

Austria improved efforts to raise general domestic awareness of trafficking. Domestic awareness efforts were directed at victims of trafficking rather than "clients" of Austria's legal and regulated sex trade. There were approximately 2,800 legal and illegal brothels operating in Austria during the reporting period. In 2007, the government subsidized a movie, which was shown in Austrian movie theaters entitled "Shortly Before it Happened," a semidocumentary based on narratives of real women who were trafficked into prostitution in Europe, as a means of raising awareness of human trafficking. In February 2008, Austria hosted a UN anti-trafficking conference which received high-level attention in the Austrian media. The government funds an NGO-run course to sensitize Austrian troops on human trafficking before they are deployed on international peacekeeping missions. Austria adequately monitors its borders for signs of trafficking and border officials screen for potential trafficking victims. In 2007, the Ministry of Economics launched a campaign encouraging Austrian tourists and travel agencies to report suspected cases of child sex tourism involving Austrian nationals abroad. Austrian law allows the extraterritorial prosecution of Austrian nationals who travel abroad to engage in child commercial sexual exploitation. In December 2007, one Austrian man was sentenced to two years for traveling to India and purchasing commercial sex acts from children ranging from six to nine years of age.

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