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Usually, “trafficking” refers to the process when another person, who receives economic benefits from this, exploits someone. This is a form of violence, and most often, like other forms, it is applied to women and children.
Most often, exploitation is labor and sexual. Here are the signs they may include,
— Exploitation of the prostitution of third parties or other forms of sexual exploitation,
— Forced labor or services,
— Slavery or practices similar to slavery,
— Dependent state
— Forced marriage
— Extraction of organs.
The legislation provides for a term of imprisonment of between six months and 10 years if a person is found to be trafficking human beings.
Sec. 232(1) German Criminal Code cites trafficking as the recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving of another person “by taking advantage of that person’s personal or financial predicament or helplessness on account of being in a foreign country, or that person is under 21 years of age” if:
1. that person is to be exploited by way of: (a) engaging in prostitution or performing sexual acts on or in the presence of the offender or a third person, or having sexual acts performed on them by the offender or a third person, (b) employment, (c) begging or (d) committing criminal offence;
2. that person is to be held in slavery, bonded labor, debt bondage or under corresponding similar conditions; or
3. an organ is to be illegally removed from that person.
Exploitation through employment is present where the employment serves the ruthless pursuit of profit, and takes place under working conditions that are strikingly different to those of other performing the same and similar activity, and can be read in conjunction with Sec. 233 of the German Criminal Code (Exploitation of Labor).
Subject to the specific nature of the offence, the length of sentence can be increased to up to 10 years if:
— the offender recruits, transfers, harbors, receives, or transports the victim by force, threat of serious harm or by deception; or
— the offender abducts the victim or gains physical control over the victim or encourages a third person to gain physical control over the victim;
— the victim is under 18 years of age;
— the offender seriously physically mistreats the victim, or recklessly places the victim in danger of death or at risk of serious damage to health; or
— the offender acts on a commercial basis or as a member of a gang whose purpose is the continued commission of such offences.
● Sec. 232a German Criminal Code (Forced Prostitution)
● Sec. 232b German Criminal Code (Forced Labor)
● Sec. 233 German Criminal Code (Exploitation of Labor)
● Sec. 233a German Criminal Code (Exploitation Involving Deprivation of Liberty)
● Sec. 233b German Criminal Code (Supervision of Conduct)
These can be read in conjunction with Sec. 232, and provide specific offences for those circumstances listed as constituting Human Trafficking. These offences also carry with them terms of imprisonment up to 10 years, depending on the specific nature of the offences.
In line with international treaties, victims of human trafficking are typically not criminalized:
Article 4 ECHR prohibits slavery and forced labor. Case law has concluded that Human Trafficking falls within Article 4 ECHR. It is the job of the competent authority to assess whether someone is a victim of trafficking before pursuing criminal charges in the courts.
This states that each Party should take a ‘human rights based approach, whereby victims of trafficking should be viewed as such, and should have access to necessary legal protections.
Article 26 states that each party shall, in accordance with the basic principles of its legal system, provide for the possibility of not imposing penalties on victims for their involvement in unlawful activities to the extent they have been compelled to do so.
German NGO Network and registered non-profit organization advocating for the rights of trafficked persons and female migrants facing violence. The organization brings together most specializing counseling centers in Germany working with trafficked persons as well as other organizations addressing the issue.
The main objective of the organization and its members is to improve the living conditions of trafficked persons and female migrants facing violence and help them enforce their rights.
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