U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Austria

Austria (Tier 1)

Austria is a transit and destination country primarily for trafficking of women from Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and countries of the former Soviet Union for the purposes of prostitution. The final destinations for most women transiting through Austria are other EU countries, especially Italy. Police noted increased trafficking of Romanian boys and Bulgarian girls to engage in begging, stealing, and possible sexual exploitation. The Government of Austria fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government was particularly strong with respect to law enforcement and victim protection through referral to government-supported shelters.


The government worked actively with international organizations and regional organizations (EU, Interpol, OSCE, and UN) to carry out preventive programs throughout the region. The government provides annual funding to Austria's primary NGO dealing with trafficking issues, for prevention programs. The government is funding IOM projects to conduct research and awareness campaigns on trafficking in Slovakia.


Several articles in the criminal and alien codes specifically prohibit trafficking. However, articles prohibiting facilitation of illegal entry and exploitation of aliens are more often used to prosecute traffickers. Penalties for trafficking in persons are commensurate with other grave crimes, with trafficking crimes involving death and extreme violence receiving more severe penalties. In 2002, over 2,000 charges were filed under the two main anti-trafficking and anti-smuggling criminal articles. Most recent conviction statistics, from 2001, indicate over 500 persons were sentenced under various anti-trafficking and anti-smuggling articles. Local and national level governments cooperate with authorities from other countries to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases. The government cooperated with Eastern European countries in particular to dismantle a number of trafficking rings. The Interior Ministry's Federal Bureau of Criminal Affairs has a division dedicated solely to combating human trafficking and smuggling. The government supports and funds NGO and government sensitivity training for police and other public authorities both inside Austria and in other countries. In December 2002 the government held a training seminar for police officers of Stability Pact countries.


The government funds efforts of an NGO to provide direct services to trafficking victims, including shelter, legal assistance, health and medical services. That NGO also assists victims transiting through Vienna during repatriations from other destination countries. Victims outside of Vienna have access to government-funded services, including women's shelters located in each province. The Austrian government provides temporary resident status for trafficked victims. Officials may also issue a delay in repatriation proceedings pending completion of a court case. Victims of trafficking also have the possibility of continued residence.


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