U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Germany

Germany (Tier 1)

Germany is a transit and destination country for persons, primarily women, trafficked mainly from Central and Eastern Europe for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Russia alone accounted for one-quarter of the 1,235 identified victims reported in 2003, the latest year for which statistics are available. For the first time, Germany's statistics included German nationals who numbered 127.

The Government of Germany fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Germany improved victim assistance and launched information campaigns against child sex tourism and demand for trafficking victims. Changes to the German Penal Code enacted in February 2005 broadened the definition of exploitation and toughened penalties for those convicted of trafficking-related offenses; there has been insufficient time to gauge the full effects of these legislative reforms.


Although the German Government increased funding of anti-trafficking investigative efforts, a significant number of sentences imposed on traffickers remained light. Trafficking investigations rose from 289 in 2002 to 431 in 2003, the latest year for which law enforcement data are available. Of the 145 adults convicted in 2003, only 51 received a non-suspended prison sentence. Changes to the German Penal Code in February 2005 implemented UN and EU guidelines. These amendments criminalized forced labor trafficking, and aiding and abetting trafficking. The Federal Office for Criminal Investigation conducted special training programs for police officers in 2004 in anticipation of the new anti-trafficking legislation, and the Federal Justice Ministry provided trafficking awareness training for judges and prosecutors. The government closed legislative loopholes concerning sexual abuse and rape of children and increased the maximum penalty for aggravated sexual abuse of children from ten years to 15 years in prison. While Germany can prosecute German child sex tourists under its extraterritorial child sexual exploitation laws, the government did not separately track data on those crimes. The German Government and an international NGO concluded a cooperative agreement in February 2004 to strengthen its pursuit of child sex tourism cases. Germany's parliament initiated investigations in 2004 into visa irregularities at the German embassies and overall German visa issuance policy and practices from the late 1990s to 2004.


Germany improved its victim assistance efforts in 2004 by amending immigration and victims' rights legislation. Following a four-week "reflection period," trafficking victims who agree to testify against their traffickers may now obtain a temporary residence permit. The Victims' Rights Reform Law, enacted in September 2004, expanded the rights of crime victims in criminal proceedings, including trafficking victims. The legislation entitles victims to interpreters and allows third parties to be present during police questioning. State governments funded approximately 25 counseling centers to provide assistance and facilitate protection for trafficking victims. In 2003, 1,108 non-German trafficking victims were granted a four-week reflection period and received assistance from specialized NGOs, with another 227 receiving shelter and extended assistance beyond that period. The number of German states with formal agreements among law enforcement and NGOs to improve victim service delivery increased from seven to eight of Germany's 16 states.


During the reporting period, Germany devoted substantial resources to raising anti-trafficking awareness both within Germany and overseas. The German international aid agency launched new initiatives abroad to assist returnees, to raise awareness among potential victims, and to combat child sex tourism. The Lutheran church, in coordination with the German Family Ministry, held a workshop on demand reduction and distributed leaflets on the responsibility of everyone to fight trafficking. The Family Ministry and an NGO in 2004 produced a film spot against child sex tourism entitled Words, which was shown in approximately 200 cinemas and on television. German embassies and consulates continued anti-trafficking outreach activities, such as the distribution of brochures warning about the risks of trafficking in 13 languages.


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