Action Plan on Trafficking in Persons – Smuggling of Migrants
Germany has not yet developed a national action plan or other strategic document to combat trafficking in human beings in a comprehensive manner.
However, in addition to the adoption of the above-mentioned legislative acts, the Federal Government has undertaken several initiatives over the last few years to prevent trafficking in human beings, prosecute traffickers, and protect victims and ensure their access to rights. These include:
The National Cooperation Strategy on Protecting and Supporting Child Victims of Trafficking and Exploitation
In 2017 the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth published the draft of a National Cooperation Strategy on Protecting and Supporting Child Victims of Trafficking and Exploitation, which was jointly developed by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and ECPAT Germany with input from experts and practitioners, especially KOK, BKA, and the International Social Service.
The National Cooperation Strategy is designed as a nationwide set of recommendations for the development of a new cooperation mechanism or for use in expanding existing Länder-level cooperation mechanisms.
It provides a framework for a cooperation mechanism and enables alignment with the prevailing requirements and structures in a given Länder.
The cooperation strategy contains action-oriented measures and recommendations for organizational and communicative structures that enable ongoing, person-independent cooperation and collaboration at the local level.
It provides insight into definition-based distinctions and legal and policy frameworks; looks at all forms of human trafficking for the purpose of exploitation; names potential cooperation partners; and provides information on their responsibilities and work processes.
The strategy also lists contact data and service points in the various Länder and illustrates how identification of child victims can be promoted, including through the use of a list of child trafficking indicators.
Related Action Plans
According to the authorities, the fight against human trafficking is addressed within the context of various action plans at the federal and Länder level.
The Federal Government has adopted a National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights 2016-2020, linked to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The plan envisages some activities that could contribute to discouraging demand and reducing TIP for the purpose of labour exploitation. However, there appears to be limited contact and coordination between the government bodies implementing this action plan and those fighting TIP. Further, a Federal Government Action Plan for combatting violence against women and domestic violence is currently being prepared under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. In view of the particular gender-specific nature of how women and girls are affected by human trafficking, measures to fight TIP are also expected to be included in the Action Plan
The institution/s in charge of identifying VOTs or traffickers in the field
Germany is a federal republic composed of 16 Länder (states). The exercise of sovereign power is divided between the Federal Government and the Länder (state) governments in accordance with the provisions of German Basic Law. With regard to human trafficking, the Länder have far-reaching responsibilities. For example, it is noted that as a general rule, the criminal prosecution authorities in the individual Länder are responsible for the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking. They are also responsible, in line with the federal structure, for providing general advice and assistance for victims.
Identification is done by various entities under the overall coordination of Federal Working Group on Trafficking in Human Beings.
The Länder (state) governments, which are responsible for protection efforts, identified 671 trafficking victims in 2017, an increase from 536 in 2016. The large increase in victim identification came mainly from the construction sector (116 victims in 2017, compared to 12 in 2016), with most victims from North Macedonia (52 victims) and Latvia (39 victims).
The Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) identified more potential victims in the asylum protection system than in recent years and made referrals to counseling centres. Each of the 50 BAMF offices across Germany have at least one representative to assist in identifying and supporting potential victims of trafficking, and 15 of 16 states have cooperation agreements in place between police and NGOs for various purposes. The BAMF continue to utilize standard operating procedures and trafficking indicator lists to identify potential victims in the asylum protection system and make referrals to counselling centres, though NGOs suggest improvements in victim identification. BAMF introduced a new training module in 2019 that focused specifically on human trafficking and reached approximately 80 to 100 asylum decisionmakers. Asylum case officers receive training on identifying victims of human trafficking. If an applicant seems to have been the victim of human trafficking, the case officer will inform the applicant about the three-month reflection and stabilization period, according to the Residence Act, and eventual humanitarian residence permit or subsidiary protection.
At front line: The Federal Police are responsible for refusing entry of persons into Germany and for removal proceedings. If an alien identifies him or herself to the Federal Police as a victim of human trafficking, the police will refer the person to the respective State Criminal Police or the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA). BKA offers a course on human trafficking for police officers who work in specialized investigations and on closing cases related to human trafficking. The officers must have prior knowledge in this area. The training on human trafficking for sexual exploitation is offered twice a year, and the training on human trafficking for labour exploitation once a year.
The Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) is responsible for all labourrelated issues at federal level. This covers industrial relations, social security, employment and vocational training, occupational safety and health, labour standards and trafficking of human beings for labour exploitation. BMAS co-finances pilot projects and mandates research on labour exploitation and handles cases under the Crime Victims Compensation Act.
Agencies Responsible for Border Management
The Federal Police (Bundespolizei) are responsible for border security, coast guard services, and security at international airports and on German railways, among other areas. The Federal Police are responsible for refusing entry of persons into Germany and for removal proceedings. If an alien identifies him or herself to the Federal Police as a victim of human trafficking, the Federal Police will refer the person to the respective State Criminal Police or the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA).
National Coordinating Bodies
The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) continues to act as the federal coordinating agency on issues related to human trafficking.
The Federal Working Group on Trafficking in Human Beings meets at least twice a year under the leadership of BMFSFJ, bringing together representatives of relevant federal ministries and agencies, Länder representatives, NGOs, and the German Institute for Human Rights.
Recently, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) joined the Working Group as new members. The working group serves as a forum for exchanging information on activities and specific problems in combatting human trafficking and for the development of guidelines and joint actions.
The responsibility for action against TIP for the purpose of labour exploitation is with the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).
A Federal Working Group on Combatting Human Trafficking for the Purpose of Labour Exploitation was established in 2015 with the aim of developing by the end of 2016 a strategy to end this form of exploitation. The Working Group comprises representatives of Federal and Länder ministries, the Federal Criminal Police Office, the Länder criminal police offices, public prosecutors, the Financial Monitoring Unit to Combat Illicit Employment (FKS), social partners, and NGOs. Three subgroups have been set up within this Working Group.
The current federal government coalition agreement is intended to strengthen the structures of combatting human trafficking and supporting victims. A joint meeting of the groups (Forum Menschenhandel) was held in March 2019.
Specialized Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) Unit
The Division IZ of BKA aims to link international cooperation and criminological research and science as closely as possible.
Division IZ also coordinates cooperation between the German police authorities and European/international police organisations as well as within the framework of other forms of international police cooperation.
BKA is Germany’s National Central Bureau of the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO) - better known as INTERPOL, which is headquartered in Lyon, France. INTERPOL brings 186 countries together with a view to provide mutual support to their police authorities. BKA ensures that information exchange with INTERPOL and the police forces of the German states is rapid and secure.
The liaison officers play an important role in the collection and exchange of information. BKA’s 66 liaison officers work at 53 locations in 50 countries, promoting bilateral cooperation between the criminal justice authorities at international level. They represent the interests of the German police, especially those of the BKA, in their respective host countries and also provide support to other German criminal justice authorities. In addition, the liaison officers can assist the criminal justice authorities of the host country when investigations with links to Germany are concerned. In addition to their case-related work, the liaison officers also collect information of strategic importance, especially with regard to the suppression of drugs and organised crime as well as international terrorism.
Germany continues to be primarily a country of destination for trafficked persons, as well as to some extent a country of origin and of transit. According to the annual status reports on trafficking in human beings (TIP) of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the number of identified victims of TIP was 583 in 2014, 470 in 2015, 536 in 2016, 671 in 2017, and 503 in 2018. The majority of the victims identified in the period 2014-2018 were subjected to sexual exploitation (2,380), but the proportion of this type of exploitation has decreased from over 90% in 2014 to 73% in 2017, while at the same time the incidence of identified victims of trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation has increased (27% in 2017) . Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation concerned mostly women and girls (around 97% of the identified victims), while the identified victims of trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation were mostly male (81% in 2015, 71% in 2016, 86% in 2017, 86% in 2018) and occurred mainly in the sectors of construction, hospitality, factory work, agriculture, cleaning services, and domestic work. Following the introduction of new forms of exploitation to the offence of TIP in the German Criminal Code in October 2016, there were for the first time two identified victims of TIP for the purpose of forced begging in 2017.
Main Trends and Figures
In 2018, the main countries of origin of the victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation were Germany, Romania , Bulgaria, Hungary, and Nigeria with total of 430 victims. As regards victims of human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, the main countries of origin were Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Latvia, and North Macedonia, with a total of 63 victims. The number of German victims of TIP identified in the period 2014-2017 was 406. The number of identified child victims in the period 2014-2017 was 513. They were all subjected to sexual exploitation, with the exception of two children who became victims of labour exploitation. It was reported that an increasing number of victims, including children, are recruited via the Internet/social media. Young girls and women in particular are groomed through online chat rooms and fall prey to so-called “loverboys” who manipulate and force them into prostitution. According to the authorities, 99 child victims of trafficking of German nationality were recruited via the Internet in the period 2014-2017. Smuggling of Migrants (SOM): The number of persons seeking asylum in Germany has increased substantially during the reporting period, with a total of 476,510 asylum seekers in 2015 and 745,155 in 2016. Counselling centres for victims of TIP reported that some asylum seekers, in particular from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, had been identified as victims of human trafficking and that the persons being referred to them originated mostly from West African countries, in particular Nigeria. The majority of these victims were exploited on their way to Germany, including in other European Union (EU) countries, such as Italy, where they first arrived.
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM) Hotlines
TIP/SOM (violence against women) - +49 8000 116 016*
Others (Children protection/ assistance) - 116111 or 0800-1110333 (Mon-Sat 14:00-20:00)
*This hotline is available free of charge 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in 18 languages.
More information can be founded on the Hilfetelefon Gewalt Gegen Frauden website
More information on the hotline for children can be found on the NummergegenKummer website.
National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and/or Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
Since police investigation and protection as well as support and counseling of victims of trafficking fall within the responsibility of the Länder within the federal system of Germany, on the federal level only a model exists. The Länder have adapted this model to their regional specificities and have signed formal agreements with the NGOs. The model for a referral mechanism focusing on victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, “Trafficking in Women,” was first published by the Federal Working Group in 1998 and was updated in 2007. The BKA and KOK, a nationwide activist coordination group combatting trafficking in women and violence against women in the process of migration.
With a view to creating a specific referral process for cases of trafficking in children, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and ECPAT Germany, in cooperation with other public and civil society actors, have developed a document entitled “Federal Cooperation Guidance on Protecting and Supporting Child Victims of Trafficking and Exploitation.” Published on October 18, 2018, it provides recommendations for cooperation among youth welfare services, the police, specialized counselling centres, and other relevant actors in the identification and protection of child victims of trafficking. (The competences for the implementation of this guidance lie with the Länder -German only)
Law Enforcement Agencies Responsible for Investigating Cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM)
Criminal investigations, including those concerning TIP offences, are almost exclusively carried out by Länder police units: either by local criminal police units or by the criminal police office of the Land (LKA). Police units dedicated specifically to the fight against TIP exist only in some Länder; notably the LKA Berlin has one specialist unit focused on TIP for sexual exploitation and one unit on TIP for labour exploitation. The relevant LKA can take over investigative responsibility in cases of serious crime, in particular drug trafficking and organized crime.
The Prosecution Service: The prosecution offices function under the authority of the Ministers of Justice of the Länder. The detailed organization of prosecution offices is prescribed by the legislation of each Länder. In most public prosecution services, TIP cases are dealt with by units specialized in organized crime. There are few public prosecutors specializing in TIP cases. In Berlin, the public prosecution service has departments responsible for TIP for labour exploitation and for TIP for sexual exploitation. One of the specialized public prosecutors also acts as Human Trafficking Officer and passes on expertise to colleagues.
COUNSELLING FOR MIGRANT WORKERS
The Fair Mobility project assists in the enforcement of fair wages and working conditions for migrant workers from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries on the German labour market. The project is implemented by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and funded by BMAS.
Contact: Faire Mobilität
DGB, Kapweg 4, 13405 Berlin
Tel: +49 3 0 21 240 540
Advisory Centre Berlin
Tel: +49 030 210 164 37 | +49 030 212 329 96 Languages: German | Polish | Bulgarian | Macedonian | Serbo Croatian | English firstname.lastname@example.org
Advisory Centre Dortmund Tel: +49 0231 545 079 82 | +49 0231 189 998 59 | +49 0231 189 986 52 | +49 0231 189 986 97 Languages: German | Bulgarian | Romanian | Hungarian | English email@example.com
Advisory Centre Oldenburg Tel: +49 0441 924 9019 | +49 0441 924 9012 Languages: German | Bulgarian | Romanian | English firstname.lastname@example.org
Advisory Centre Frankfurt/Main Tel: +49 069 272 975 67 | +49 069 272 975 66 | +49 069 153 452 31 Languages: German | Bulgarian | Romanian | Polish | English email@example.com
Advisory Centre Kiel Tel: (+49) 0431 519 516 67 | (+49) 0431 519 516 68 Languages: German | Polish | Romanian | English firstname.lastname@example.org
Advisory Centre Munich Tel: +49 089 513 990 18 | +49 089 512 427 72 Languages: German | Bulgarian | English muenchen @faire-mobilitaet.de
Advisory Centre Stuttgart Tel: +49 0711 120 936 35 | +49 0711 120 936 36 Languages: German | Czech | Slowak | Polish | English email@example.com
Technical Working Groups
In 2016, at the initiative of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and on the basis of an expert report prepared by the German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR), a joint consultation process of the relevant federal ministries was launched with the aim of considering the creation of an independent national reporting agency (i.e. a National Rapporteur in the sense of Article 29, paragraph 4, of the Convention) and a mechanism to improve coordination of all federal measures to combat human trafficking. Civil society and the Länder are included in this consultation process via the two above-mentioned Working Groups. The expert report of DIMR proposed different scenarios for creating such mechanisms. According to the authorities, an agreement in principle was reached to create a national reporting mechanism and a governmental coordination mechanism, but the legislative period ended in September 2017, and the discussions have to be renewed following the formation of a new government. According to the authorities, activities on the further development of the institutional structures at the federal level outlined in paragraph 27 also aim at the establishment of a national rapporteur.
Annual 2019 report (available in German only)
Agency in charge of Trafficking in Persons (TIP)/Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) data collection and processing
The German authorities to develop and maintain a comprehensive and coherent data collection system on trafficking in human beings, compiling reliable statistical information from all main actors and allowing disaggregation.
The BKA produces an annual report on trafficking in human beings and exploitation, based on available information from police investigations, which includes statistical data on suspects and victims disaggregated by sex, age, form of exploitation, and country of origin.
The 2016 and 2017 reports also include data on the commercial sexual exploitation of children. In addition, the police forces of some Länder produce their own reports, for example, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.
Justice and criminal prosecution statistics are published by the Federal Statistical Office. BKA and Federal Statistical Office statistics are not comparable due to timing differences in the inclusion of cases and differences in methodology. The current federal government coalition agreement envisages commissioning a feasibility study on their alignment.
The sub-working group on prosecution and improvement of data collection of the Federal Working Group on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Labour Exploitation proposed in 2016 to commission a concept study on the use of other sources to improve data collection on TIP and to look at data protection issues. The subgroup also recommended that obstacles to the use of data from certain bodies (for example the Financial Monitoring Unit to Combat Illicit Employment (FKS), by other entities, for example police investigators) be removed; Finally, it recommended that a national reporting mechanism on TIP be created.
A Federal Coordination Group Against Human Trafficking (KOK) project for centralized collation and analysis of data from specialized counselling centres is currently in the testing phase. Only incomplete data is available about the number of victims who have received assistance from such centres. In their comments on the draft report, the German authorities indicated that any sharing of data by the specialized counselling centres would need to take place on a purely voluntary basis. Data collection and reporting on trafficking in human beings has several limitations.
Data is only collected on victims who are identified as part of police investigations, not on those identified and assisted by civil society organizations. In addition, data on the enforcement of trafficking victims’ rights—such as on the number of victims offered reflection periods, residence permits, compensation, and repatriation—is also not collected in a systematic manner
Protection and Assistance to Victims of Trafficking Agencies
Competent authority and mechanism used to officially identify and recognize a person as a VOT
There is no one ministry that is responsible for identifying VOTs. There are no ministries directly responsible for this issue. The BMI is responsible for prosecution (which it shares with the Bundesländer), the BMFSFJ finances the assistance given to victims of sexual exploitation. The BMAS is responsible for laws and rights at work.
ASSISTANCE SERVICES AND CONTACTS
Assistance services to trafficked persons are provided by State-based services, including health care providers and counsellors. State governments also fund several organisations that provide shelter, assistance, and facilitate protection for victims of trafficking. However, full medical and psychological assistance is only granted to persons who reside legally in Germany. Persons with an illegal status receive benefits according to the German Law on Benefits for Asylum Seekers. These cover basic needs but are below subsistence levels and are generally not sufficient for this target group
KOK provides a lists of support resources on their website.
KOK is a German NGO network and coordination office against trafficking in human beings. Currently, KOK consists of 38 member organisations across Germany that provide services, such as counselling centres and shelters, for victims of trafficking. This is a unique network as it represents a broad variety of different groups, including faith-based organisations and sex workers’ rights groups.
International Cooperation Agreements - Cross Border and Extradition Treaties
At the regional and international levels, in addition to agreements with the UN and the EU, Germany has signed the following agreement:
ACT on international cooperation in criminal matters
At the bilateral level, Germany has signed these agreements:
Law 149/99 of August 31, 1999: Law 149/99 deals with international judicial cooperation in criminal matters. It governs the main forms of cooperation, particularly extradition and mutual judicial assistance, and states that the principle of reciprocity shall be the basis for all international cooperation. Germany is party to the Council of Europe conventions on extradition and mutual judicial assistance and has signed several bilateral or regional agreements on international cooperation in criminal matters.
Germany has signed bilateral agreements with all of its neighbors on cross-border police cooperation. These agreements govern cross-border police measures such as surveillance, controlled deliveries, and hot pursuit; joint police operations, in particular joint patrols; information-sharing; cross-border personnel support; and work at the joint centres for police and customs cooperation.
This includes cooperation with Europol, Frontex, and INTERPOL.
More than 200 officers from the Federal Police, the state police forces, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), and the Federal Customs Administration are currently serving in international missions organized by the EU, the UN, and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as in the bilateral police project in Afghanistan and with Frontex at the EU’s external borders.
They are helping to mitigate the causes of illegal migration where they arise: in the countries of origin and transit. The duties of German police officers include advising high-ranking officials in security ministries and police administrations in the sub-Saharan region as well as training trainers, criminal investigators, and border guards at the police academies in Bamako, Mali, and Kabul, Afghanistan.
In this way, police missions provide a lasting and effective contribution to the fight against human smuggling and illegal migration. The goals of German police participation in missions are thus closely linked to ensuring the internal security of Germany and Europe.
At the EU level, BKA is involved in various projects in the EMPACT cooperation framework (European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats). As part of the EMPACT project, BKA takes part in annual Europe-wide controls against human trafficking and exploitation. In addition, close international exchange on individual investigations takes place via Europol and INTERPOL. BKA is also represented in the “Human Trafficking Expert Group” founded by INTERPOL in 2016.
Transnational Referral Mechanism
A Transnational Referral Mechanism (TRM) does not currently exist. To learn more about TRMs, see IOM’s Transnational Referral Mechanism Model (TACT) project and tool.*
*IOM, TACT Transnational Referral Mechanism, financed by le fonds Asile, Migration et integration (FAMI)
Additional International Instruments
Under the aegis of the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, a study was published in 2018 entitled “Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Germany: Results of a file analysis of cases registered by the police from 2009 to 2013.” In addition, the GermanAustrian research project PRIMSA (2014-2017) developed a multi-use tool to prevent and combat human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
In 2015, KOK published a new edition of its comprehensive overview on TIP in Germany. It provides a detailed description of the situation from a legal point of view and as seen from the practice of counselling centres. It identifies specific problem areas and offers recommendations. Another study examined the situation of female, male, and child victims of trafficking and found that trafficked persons rarely have their own, secured living space. It made recommendations for improving the situation.
A 2016 study by KOK focused on TIP for the purpose of labour exploitation of women with the aim of finding out whether such women are perceived differently by the public, and, if so, why. The study is based on interviews with experts. It established four main factors contributing to the perception of women as victims of labour exploitation: media representation, gender stereotyped expectations, accessibility to the labour sectors, and access to representation of interests.
Specialized portal/website: Targeting specialists, facilitators, and groups that potentially come into contact with victims, Together against human trafficking (Gemeinsam gegen Menschenhandel e.V) specially developed an online portal that provides information, news, and events on human trafficking for labour exploitation
Relevant National Legislation and Policies
All 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states and Chad, Libya, and Mauritania: Nationals of the 15 ECOWAS member states and other countries (Chad, Libya and Mauritania): need a valid and adequate visa corresponding to the purpose of the visit as well as a valid travel document with a validity of at least three months than the required stay
Generally speaking, all other foreign nationals require a visa for stays in Germany. For nationals of those countries for which the European Community has abolished the visa requirement, a visa is not required for visits of up to 90 days in a 180-day period.
Visa exempted: all EU Nationals and Swiss nationals.
To respect its international and regional commitments, in addition to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, Germany has ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (both ratified in 2006). Germany is also party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child including its Optional Protocols on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography and on a Communications Procedure (ratified in 1992, 2009 and 2013 respectively), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol (ratified in 1985 and 2002 respectively), as well as the following conventions elaborated under the International Labour Organization (ILO): Convention Concerning Forced or Compulsory labour (No. 29), Convention Concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour (No. 105), Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (No. 182), and the Domestic Workers Convention (No. 189). Further, Germany is party to a number of Council of Europe conventions in the criminal field which are relevant to action against TIP.
Germany is bound by the EU instruments on action against trafficking in human beings, in particular Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 5, 2011 on preventing and combatting trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, Council Directive 2004/81/EC of April 29, 2004 on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities, Council Directive 2004/80/EC of April 29, 2004 relating to compensation to crime victims, and Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA of March 15, 2001 on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings.
AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL: MOST RECENT AND RELEVANT LEGISLATION
Act to Improve Action Against Human Trafficking. The Act improves action against human trafficking and amends the Federal Central Criminal Register Act and Book VIII of the Social Code, which entered into force on October 15, 2016. Germany transposed Directive 2011/36EU into national law.
The provisions criminalizing trafficking in human beings were introduced into the German Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB) in 2005 and include three sections: 232 (TIP for sexual exploitation), 233 (TIP for labour exploitation) and 233a (assisting in human trafficking). Furthermore, the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) provides for issuing a residence permit for victims of trafficking in section 25, subsection 4a, and for a recovery and reflection period in section 59, subsection 7.
Other internal legal acts relating to action against TIP include:*
Act on Regulating the Business of Prostitution and Protecting Persons Working in Prostitution, which improves working conditions in legal prostitution and protects prostitutes against exploitation, forced prostitution, and human trafficking. The new Act applies throughout Germany to all prostitutes, their clients, and the operators of prostitution establishments. The law provides comprehensive regulations for prostitution in Germany for the first time and entered into force on July 1, 2017. The aim of the law is to create a legislative basis for guaranteeing contractual working conditions, protecting the health of prostitutes, and combatting crime in prostitution, such as human trafficking, violence against and the exploitation of prostitutes, and procuration.
The Code of Criminal Procedure (Strafprozeßordnung, StPO), which contains provisions on compensation claims and procedural rights of victims of crimes.
The Asylum Seeker Benefits Act (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz, AsylbLG) on financial and medical assistance for asylum seekers, which also applies to non-EU nationals during the recovery and reflection period.
Volume II of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch, SGB II) on basic social protection for job seekers and Volume XII of the Social Code (SGB XII) on social assistance benefits, which stipulate the entitlements to assistance for German victims, victims who are EU-nationals, and non-EU nationals who have been granted a specific residence permit for victims of TIP.
Act to Reform Asset Recovery in Criminal Law. To strengthen and streamline the effective confiscation of assets, Germany passed new asset confiscation legislation in 2017 that comprehensively reformed existing provisions. It entered into force on July 1, 2017.
The Crime Victims Compensation Act (Opferentschädigungsgesetz, OEG), which determines the conditions for state compensation for persons who have been the victim of a violent crime
Legal assistance and victim’s compensation
REGARDING LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Article 15 of the EU Convention establishes the obligation for parties to provide in their internal law for the right of victims of trafficking to legal assistance and free legal aid. Parties must also provide for the right of victims of trafficking to compensation from the perpetrators as well as adopt legislative or other measures to guarantee compensation for victims from the State. A human rights-based approach to action against TIP entails the effective prosecution of traffickers, putting the emphasis on the right to effective remedy for the victim. Further, Article 15(1) of the Convention establishes that victims of trafficking must have access to information on relevant judicial and administrative proceedings in a language which they can understand.
Victims are given a minimum three months’ reflection period to allow them to recover and consider whether they would like to cooperate with the police in criminal proceedings. During the reflection period, victims are provided with accommodation and legal, medical, and psychosocial assistance.
If the person decides to cooperate and the criminal proceeding has been registered, a temporary residence permit can be granted by the prosecutors’ office. Temporary residence permits are in general issued for six months, with the option of successive renewals. Temporary residence permits can be extended if the public prosecutor’s office cannot exclude the possibility of a threat to the trafficked person.
Special protective measures for children: The German government has attached special measures to combat child trafficking through the framework of the two national action plans: A Germany Fit for Children, 2005 – 2010 and For the Protection of Children and Young People from Sexual Violence and Exploitation. Children have special rights as witnesses in criminal proceedings, and the well-being of the child is the lead principle in cases involving children.
In Germany, there are over 50 counselling centres specialized in supporting VOT. Most of them are members of the German NGO-network - Federal Coordination Group Against Human Trafficking (Bundesweiter Koordinierungskreisgegen Menschenhandel e.V- KoK). They provide legal counselling, accompany VOTs to the police, and refer them to specialized lawyers. They also support VOT regarding access to legal aid funding. It is important to note that VOTs do not always benefit from legal aid funds; for example, if the indictment is based on other offences than TBH due to lack of evidence or when matters of residence and social law are concerned.
REGARDING VICTIM'S COMPENSATION
With the Crime Victims Compensation Act, anyone who has suffered damage to their health as a result of a violent crime can receive support under the Crime Victims Compensation Act (e.g., medical treatment, assistance with vocational rehabilitation, disability pension). The support is granted on application. Certain benefits have been increased during the last years. Due to a recent reform of the Social Compensation Act, there is now also the possibility of granting compensation to victims of psychological violence.