Last Updated: Friday, 19 September 2014, 13:55 GMT

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

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 - Austria, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be39c7b.html [accessed 21 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 from Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Croatia, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, the Dominican Republic, and Nigeria trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women from Africa are trafficked through Spain and Italy to Austria for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Women from Eastern Europe are trafficked through Austria to Italy, France, and Spain for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Roma girls are trafficked from Bulgaria for purposes of forced petty theft and commercial sexual exploitation. Approximately one-third of victims assisted were trafficked for forced labor, and two-thirds were trafficked for sexual exploitation.

The Government of Austria fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In 2006, Austria provided quality care to identified victims who cooperate with law enforcement and provided generous funding to prevention programs in source countries. In 2006, the government's Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings developed a National Action Plan, but has yet to implement it. It also provided special training for law enforcement and judicial personnel. Austria should continue to ensure a majority of convicted traffickers serve time in prison. The government should consider implementing a reflection period for victims. The government should also consider conducting a demand reduction campaign.

Prosecution

The Austrian government continued to show 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 and 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 6 months' to 10 years' imprisonment. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other grave crimes, such as rape. In 2006, police conducted 93 trafficking investigations, a decrease from 168 investigations conducted in 2005. Authorities conducted 137 prosecutions in 2006, down from 192 the previous year. Conviction data for 2006 was unavailable at the time of this report; however, in 2005, 25 traffickers were convicted, a decrease from 49 convictions in 2004. Twenty of the 25 convicted traffickers served some time in prison. Two traffickers served six to 12 months in prison, eight traffickers were sentenced to a minimum of one year's imprisonment, and 10 traffickers served an unspecified amount of time in prison. Five traffickers received suspended sentences and thus served no time in prison. A high-ranking police official was convicted and sentenced to a three-month suspended sentence under Article 310 for disclosing to a brothel owner the details of a planned police raid. At the time of this report, the official was suspended from office, pending the outcome of an appeal of the conviction.

Protection

Austria provided adequate assistance to victims during the reporting period. Police effectively referred 90 victims to trafficking victim assistance centers. The Austrian government encourages victims to assist with investigations and prosecutions of traffickers; victims who agree to cooperate with law enforcement qualify for temporary residence visas, although there is no reflection period granted to victims to consider whether they want to testify. Victims who are not identified by authorities are sometimes deported. The government continues to fully fund a key anti-trafficking NGO that provides shelter and assistance to victims; this NGO also assists in the safe repatriation of victims. Victims have access to the Austrian social system including health insurance and payment of a monthly stipend.

Prevention

Austria continued to focus much of its prevention efforts in source countries. During the reporting period, the government sponsored an awareness project in Bulgaria targeting young women and girls at risk of being trafficked. Austria adequately monitors its borders for signs of trafficking and border officials screen for potential trafficking victims.

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