POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - JUSTICE

Trafficking in Persons Report

Luxembourg retains top ranking in US human trafficking report



(l-r) Casey Mace, Chargé d'Affaires, United States Embassy in Luxembourg; Sam Tanson, Minister of Justice  MJUST

(l-r) Casey Mace, Chargé d'Affaires, United States Embassy in Luxembourg; Sam Tanson, Minister of Justice  MJUST

Luxembourg retained its tier 1 ranking in the most recent Trafficking in Persons Report despite the inconveniences posed by the pandemic.  

On the sideline of EU anti-trafficking day on 18 October, justice minister Sam Tanson (Déi Gréng) received Casey Mace, Chargé d'Affaires from the US Embassy in Luxembourg, who officially presented the evaluation for Luxembourg following the release of the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) on 1 July.

The report is published by the US to engage foreign governments on human trafficking as well as being a resource on anti-trafficking efforts. 

Since the release of the previous report in 2020 and following its recommendations highlighted, an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the ministry of justice “supported an awareness-raising and information campaign at European level, including posters on victims' rights and a leaflet for victims with contact details of support services available to them,” the justice ministry said in a statement.

Besides this, the inter-ministerial committee, which held three meetings in 2020 to coordinate actions in the fight against human trafficking, also provided training for those in the field to better identify situations of exploitation.

“I call on the vigilance of our citizens to prevent or put an end to human trafficking, whether they are adults or minors, men, women or children. Human trafficking is a criminal act, and we have a collective responsibility not to let traffickers exploit the weakness and poverty of others," Tanson said.

Luxembourg maintains tier 1 position

One of the main focuses in the current reporting period (2021) centred on human trafficking in the context of a global pandemic and how unfavourable conditions posed by the pandemic increased the number of people vulnerable to human trafficking amid interrupted anti-trafficking interventions. 

“If there is one thing we have learned in the last year, it is that human trafficking does not stop during a pandemic,” Kari Johnstone, the acting director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons said in the report.

However, despite the pandemic, Luxembourg retained its tier 1 position following sustained efforts by the government, according to the most recent TIP report released by the US Department of State.

This is the highest ranking ascribed to a country for meeting the minimum standards mentioned in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 for the elimination of human trafficking. The report underlined efforts by the government such as increased funding for NGOs--one of the recommendations from the last report--with NGOs receiving €461,500 in 2020, an increase of €102,080 compared to 2019.

Some of the other efforts include increased cooperation between labour inspectors and the police through joint operations on labour trafficking, and collaborative efforts with international law enforcement partners on trafficking cases.

The justice ministry also underscored support services provided to victims such as the creation of a new common support space "Infotraite" set up by Service d'assistance aux victimes de la traite des êtres humains (SAVTEH) and the Centre Frederic Ozanam.

In terms of prosecution, 11 investigations were opened in 2020, including four linked to forced labour, one sex trafficking investigation, and six other cases, which were determined to not involve trafficking.

A march against human trafficking took place in the grand duchy on Saturday 18 October to raise awareness on human trafficking in the grand duchy. The TIP report also underscored the number of declined convictions and lenient sentences to convicted traffickers issued by the courts. About 188 countries and territories, including the United States, were analysed in the assessment.

The full report is available on the website of the US Department of State.