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

Germany (Tier 1)

Germany is both a transit and destination for internationally trafficked persons, primarily women from the former Soviet Union and Central Europe (especially Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Latvia), for prostitution. Some victims also come from Africa (particularly Nigeria), and Asia (particularly Thailand). In 2001, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Federal Office for Criminal Investigation officially counted and registered 987 victims of sex trafficking that year, representing a 6.6% increase from the previous year.

The Government of Germany fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government's response was particularly effective in preventive engagement with source countries and increased training and awareness programs for consular officers abroad. One cause for concern is the growing number of victims from Eastern Europe and Africa. This will bear watching in coming years.


Germany's federal government focused on reaching potentially trafficked victims before they enter the country. German embassies and consulates abroad distribute an official brochure available in thirteen languages that provides information on residency and work permit requirements, counseling centers for women, health care, and warnings about trafficking. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides funds for German embassies to organize or sponsor anti-trafficking projects in foreign countries and conducted sensitivity training for consular officers from several embassies of countries of origin.


Germany's Federal Criminal and Labor Codes cover the full scope of trafficking, including specific provisions regarding trafficking for sexual exploitation. Related laws, including sexual coercion/rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and crimes against personal freedom allow penalties similar to trafficking crimes. Germany actively investigates cases of trafficking at both the state and federal level. The Federal Office for Criminal Investigation has a special trafficking-in-persons team that, inter alia, coordinates international operations, offers special training, and publishes the annual trafficking in persons report. Latest available figures list 273 pre-trial investigations for trafficking for sexual exploitation, and 148 convictions. Law enforcement authorities also cite other crimes such as smuggling and pimping that are easier to prove and provide for the similar penalties. The Federal Interagency Working Group facilitates coordination among the relevant agencies, NGOs, and law enforcement agencies.


The government partially funds various NGO victim counseling centers, including the approximately 38 centers countrywide, although the funding base for these centers is not firm. The Interagency Working Group has developed a cooperation program between local counseling centers and various state police offices for protection of and assistance to trafficked victims who agree to testify against their traffickers. The police are required to inform an NGO if they encounter a trafficking victim. Some temporary immigration benefits, such as a four-week grace period and a status of "temporary toleration" are granted for witnesses who remain for the duration of a trial. The government covers the costs of repatriation of victims. Victims of violence also are entitled to the federal victims' compensation, which now includes trafficked victims with a status of "toleration" (see above), for the duration of the trial.


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