Wikileaks - MDCVI

Tuesday, 06 September, Year 3 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu







1. (U) Below please find Embassy Vienna's submission for the tenth annual TIP report. Responses are keyed to reftel.


A. The available information on trafficking in persons comes from a wide range of sources, including the government's official report on trafficking, official law enforcement and judicial statistics, reports compiled by NGOs, media reports, and interviews with NGO experts on trafficking. Post considers this data to be reasonably reliable and accurate. Austria conducted a pilot project with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to improve the collection of trafficking data in the EU, which the EU will implement contingent on funding.

B. Austria as a Country of Transit and Destination

Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) confirm that Austria is both a transit and destination country for trafficked persons. Police say it is unclear exactly how many victims there are in Austria, as many are never identified or do not identify themselves as trafficking victims. Many remain hidden from law enforcement authorities. Most victims are trafficked into prostitution, although there are also reports of cases of labor exploitation. Most victims were women and some children, though authorities reported one trafficked male for sexual exploitation.

Police estimate that the final destinations for many of these victims are other EU countries, especially Italy, France, and Spain. Austria is also a country of destination for traffickers and victims. Until the late 1980s, most trafficked women came from Latin America and Asia. Since the early 1990s, a majority of victims have originated from Eastern Europe. Officials believe that trafficked persons come from Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary, as well as the countries of the former Soviet Union, including Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. A number of African trafficking victims come from Nigeria, as well as from Asian countries.

Vienna is the largest urban center and has the majority of the trafficking cases. Trafficking is also a problem in other urban centers, such as Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. Police believe trafficking is a problem throughout the country, because of the flexibilty of the trafficking network and the demand for "nw" prostitutes.

Authorities expressed concernabout the trafficking of women for domestic forcd labor in diplomatic households, though it is rpotedly a low number. They believed these traffiked laborers to be from Asian or African countrie. There were also reports of trafficked laborer working in restaurants.

Vienna cooperated withauthorities in Romania and Bulgaria in setting up crisis centers in these countries for trafficked children. In 2009, the Crisis Center for Unaccompanied Minors assisted 121 children, compared to 88 in 2008, 72 in 2007, 319 in 2006 and 700 in 2005.

C. Victims are primarily trafficked into forced prostitution. There were also reports of cases of labor exploitation as housemaids or au pairs. Trafficked prostitutes work in brothels, private homes, and/or on the street.

D. Women from Eastern Europe and some African and Asian countries

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are more at risk of being trafficked. There is some trafficking of Roma/Sinti and Romanian and Bulgarian boys and girls for child begging. Authorities have identified unaccompanied minors as a potential source of forced labor victims. These minors often come from Romania, Bulgaria, Afghanistan, Moldova, and Georgia.

E. The traffickers are to some extent international organized crime groups, but smaller groups or Austrian individuals appear to predominate. Often more than one trafficker will handle a trafficked person, handing her/him off to one intermediary after another until the victim reaches the final destination. Formerly trafficked women sometimes control the victims once they reach Austria. Wide income disparities between Austria and Eastern Europe ensure a steady supply of trafficked prostitutes. Traffickers often attract women by offering lucrative positions, for example as an au pair, cleaner, waitress, and/or dancer. Children from Romania and Bulgaria tend to be sold by their own families, or sometimes "loaned" for a time period.

Traffickers moved victims into Austria, which has no land border controls, as all its neighbors belong to the Schengen area. Traffickers used fraudulent documents or sometimes posed as a relative of the trafficking victim and used the legitimate documents of another person. Often the traffickers subject these women to abuse and require them to repay the traffickers through forced prostitution. One NGO source reports that traffickers use voodoo, trickery, and coercion by close and distant family members to entice women from Nigeria. Traffickers will force these women to repay a debt of 15,000-80,000 Euros through prostitution.

26. (U) Setting the Scene for the Government's Anti-Tip Efforts:
A. The government acknowledges that trafficking is a problem in Austria.

B. The Task Force on Trafficking, which includes the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Interior, Women's Affairs, Social Affairs, and Economics, has the lead on trafficking issues. A senior Foreign Ministry official heads the task force.

C. Victims are often afraid to testify against the traffickers, thus limiting the government's ability to prosecute. Corruption and lack of resources have not been reported to be a problem.

D. The government has a National Action Plan, and it publishes a report on combating human trafficking which is available on the Foreign Ministry's website. The government's Second National Action plan covers the period 2009-2011 and was adopted on May 26, 2009.

E. The government works with embassies and directly with foreign governments to identify victims. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports improved cooperation with the Nigerian Embassy. The city of Vienna worked with the governments of Romania and Bulgaria to identify victims involved in child begging. Since many of these children had no identity documents, city officials traveled to Romania and Bulgaria to find the families of the children.

F. The Ministries of Interior and Justice collect trafficking and prosecution statistics which are considered credible, but a lack of consistency across the EU remains a problem. The Ministry of Interior participated in a model EU program to collect harmonized trafficking data.

27. (U) Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers
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A. Existing Laws against TIP:

Article 217 of the Austrian Criminal Code, amended in January 1999, and Article 104a of the Criminal Code, which went into effect on May 2004, are the key provisions for the prosecution of traffickers. Paragraph 1 of Article 217 prohibits "border-crossing trafficking for the purpose of prostitution." Paragraph 1 refers to inducing or recruiting aliens for prostitution. Paragraph 2 of Article 217 covers trafficking for prostitution through deception regarding the purpose of journey to Austria or through coercion or use of force. Article 104a prohibits trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, exploitation of human organs, or labor exploitation.

Article 104 of the Criminal Code deals with trafficking for the purposes of slavery.

Article 114 of the Aliens Police Act of 2005 contains criminal-law provisions on alien smuggling. Sometimes, traffickers are prosecuted under this section of law because facilitation of illegal entry is easier to prove than trafficking and does not require the testimony of victims. With Article 116, the Aliens Police Act also contains a criminal law provision generally prohibiting the exploitation of aliens.

Articles 1325-1329 of the Austrian Civil Code of 1811 provide the basis for civil law compensation of victims due to physical injury, abuse, forced sexual intercourse and deprivation of personal liberty.

Article 20(b) of the Criminal Code provides for asset seizure and the forfeiture of illegal proceeds. In connection with organized crime, all assets are subject to seizure and forfeiture, including bank assets, other financial assets, cars, legitimate businesses, and real estate.

B. Punishment of Sex Trafficking Offenses:

Punishment under Article 217 of the Criminal Code results in sentences from six months to 10 years. Article 104a also provides for sentences up to 10 years. Article 104 of the Criminal Code requires sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years. Article 114 of the Aliens Police Act provides for sentences of up to 10 years for persons convicted of alien smuggling. Article 116 of the Aliens Police Act provides for sentences of up to three years for persons who exploit aliens, and under special circumstances, such as the death of the victim, of up to 10 years.

C. Punishment of Labor Trafficking Offenses:

As indicated in para A., Article 104a of the Criminal Code also applies for trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation, and prescribes sentences of up to 10 years.

D. Rape:

Article 201 of the Criminal Code provides for imprisonment of six months to 10 years for convictions for rape. Under specific circumstances such as torture, sentences can reach 15 years. In cases leading to the death of victims, sentences can reach 20 years.

E. Law Enforcement Statistics:

The Foreign, Interior and Justice ministries have made available detailed statistics, listing 196 proceedings under Article 217 (cross-border trafficking for the purpose of prostitution) and 23 proceedings under Article 104a of the Criminal Code (trafficking) in

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2008. Many of these proceedings are still ongoing. Also according to these statistics, there were 61 convictions of traffickers under Article 217 (cross-border trafficking for the purpose of prostitution) in 2008. Under 104a of the Criminal Code (trafficking), there were 6 convictions.

The Justice Ministry provided a breakdown of sentences in 2008 for which trafficking was the leading cause. The courts handed out 18 sentences on charges of trafficking according to Article 217 of the Criminal Code. There were no convictions based on Article 104a of the Criminal Code

Out of the 18 sentences according to Article 217 of the Criminal Code, there were three non-suspended sentences, and four completely suspended sentences. Nine were partially suspended prison sentences. Two sentences combined a fine with a suspended prison sentence

The three non-suspended prison sentences were between one and three years.

Out of the four completely suspended prison sentences, one was for 3-6 months, two were for 6-12 months, and one was for over 12 months. The nine partially suspended prison sentences were for six months to three years. The non-suspended part was between one to twelve months.

The two sentences for fines combined with a suspended prison sentence included suspended prison sentences for six months to two years.

F. Training

The government funds training for law enforcement and judicial personnel to identify trafficking victims and to sensitize officials on the issue of trafficking. The NGO Lefoe/IBF provides the training.

G. Cooperation with Other Governments

The government, at both the national and local levels, cooperates with authorities from other countries to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases. Cooperation with East European governments has been especially useful in prosecuting trafficking rings. Intensive cooperation with Austria's neighboring countries as well as Poland, Belarus, Romania and Ukraine has been successful in disclosing several cases. Police authorities point to the EU's action plan against trafficking, in effect since December 2, 2005, as a key instrument to coordinate efforts.

H. Extradition

Alien trafficking is an extraditable offense. Under the European Extradition Convention of December 13, 1957, "extradition shall be granted in respect of offenses punishable under the laws of the requesting Party and of the requested Party by deprivation of liberty or under a detention order for a maximum period of at least one year or by a more severe penalty."

I. There is no evidence of government involvement in or tolerance of trafficking.

J. N/A

K. There were no reported cases of trafficking involvement of Austrians in peacekeeping operations

L. Under Austrian law, any citizen engaging in the sexual abuse of a

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child in a foreign country is punishable under Austrian law, even if the actions are not punishable in the country where the abuse was committed. There were no reported cases of foreign pedophiles prosecuted, deported, or extradited by Austria during the reporting period. There were no reported cases of nationals prosecuted and/or convicted for traveling to other countries to engage in child sex tourism during the reporting period.

A. The government provides temporary resident status for trafficking victims and subsidizes the NGO LEFOE/IBF which provides assistance and shelter to victims. A witness protection program allows the victim to retain anonymity in testifying. As of April 2009, the Residence and Settlement Act listed victims of trafficking as a special category with a right for temporary resident status.

B. Victim Care Facilities

The primary NGO dealing with trafficking in persons in country is LEFOE/IBF. Although the group's initial focus was on counseling and educating immigrant women from Latin America, it has since expanded to help female victims of trafficking from all nations.

LEFOE/IBF provides psychological, legal, and health-related counseling and assistance, emergency housing, and German language courses. LEFOE/IBF workers also assist victims preparing for court proceedings against traffickers, and can accompany victims to court. LEFOE/IBF assists victims in returning to their country of origin, including by liaising with counseling centers in these countries to ensure that victims receive services upon return. LEFOE/IBF works on a five-year contract with the Ministry of Interior; its budget in 2008 was $572,400.

Outside of Vienna, the Independent Integration Center for Immigrants in Linz provides counseling for trafficked women. Innsbruck, Salzburg, Graz, Klagenfurt and St. Poelten provide assistance to trafficked women through their intervention centers for domestic abuse. Federal and local governments finance these intervention centers.

NGOs report generally good relations with authorities. Each province has at least one women's shelter that provides assistance to battered women. Victims of trafficking are allowed to stay in such shelters.

The Vienna Center for Unassisted Minor Aliens offers unaccompanied illegal minors legal, medical, and social assistance, and employs interpreters who help communicate with foreign minors.

C. The government provides trafficking victims with access to medical services. LEFOE/IBF provides legal and psychological assistance.

D. Article 69a of the Residence and Settlement Act provides the right of temporary residence status for victims of human trafficking.

E. Victims may remain if they meet certain criteria such as the willingness and ability to integrate in Austria.

F. Law enforcement authorities refer victims to partner NGOs, which provide care to victims.

G. In the 46 cases filed under Article 217 of the Criminal Code in 2008 for which trafficking was the main offense, of the 32 victims 31 were female and one was male. In the four cases filed under

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Article 104a of the Criminal Code in 2008 for which trafficking was the main offense, of the four victims two were male and two female. In 2009, LEFOE/IBF provided counseling to 182 victims of trafficking. The largest groups were Bulgarians (29 victims counseled), Nigerians (28), Romanians (23), and Hungarians (19). Other groups included other Europeans (25), other EU countries (21), Asia (23), and other Africa (9). LEFOE/IBF provided shelter to 59 victims.

H. The government's law enforcement, immigration and social services personnel proactively attempt to identify victims of trafficking. In addition to the police, NGOs and friends/acquaintances play a significant role in identification. The NGO Exit has been particularly effective in identifying Nigerian trafficking victims and convincing them to report. NGOs report good cooperation and police identification is generally effective. Law enforcement personnel regularly screen red light districts and interview prostitutes to find trafficking victims. Monitoring of websites used by prostitution clients has been effective in identifying some victims. Prostitutes are required to register and undergo weekly health checks with government authorities.

I. Trafficking victims are referred to NGOs offering assistance and shelter. Victims are not prosecuted for violating laws governing immigration and prostitution, and are granted a 30-day reflection period without requirement to cooperate.

J. The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking, but does not connect cooperation with any residency claim. Victims may file civil suits for compensation or seek legal action against traffickers. So far the sums awarded have been small, less than $500, but there is a test case out for a significantly higher sum. Victims who are material witnesses in court cases may obtain employment and are permitted to leave the country.

K. The government provides special training for government officials in identifying trafficking victims, including addressing the needs of trafficked children. LEFOE/IBF worked with government inspectors in the sex industry to improve their ability to spot trafficking victims. Embassies and consulates in source countries attempt to inform visa applicants on the potential dangers of trafficking.

L. N/A (Not a source country)

M. IOM works with the government on the voluntary repatriation of trafficking victims.

A. The government organized and/or supported numerous public awareness events and programs. Austria hosted several international conferences dealing with the subject of trafficking. For EU Anti-Trafficking Day in October 2009, the Foreign Ministry organized an international conference which included three federal ministers as well as officials from international organizations. The government also subsidized several TV programs dealing with the issue of trafficking, and funds campaigns to inform prostitutes and clients of the rights of prostitutes under the law.

To address reported domestic labor trafficking, the government changed its regulations to require all foreign domestic laborers to appear in person and receive information on labor trafficking, including contact numbers, should they wish to seek help in the future. The Task Force on Trafficking hosted an event at the UN and requested all embassies to send a representative to the announcement of the regulation change.

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B. The government monitors immigration patterns for evidence of trafficking.

C. The Task Force on Trafficking takes the lead on trafficking issues and is currently headed by a senior Foreign Ministry official, who is the national anti-trafficking coordinator.

D. The government has a three-year national action plan on trafficking, developed by the agencies serving on the Trafficking Task Force. NGOs are also represented in the task force and were consulted in the development of the Action Plan.

E. In demand reduction, the government employed measures, including public information and vigorous enforcement, centered on encouraging use of legal and regulated prostitution. The government subsidized and distributed a brochure by LEFOE/IBF, informing prostitutes of their rights and raising public awareness. The government also published a brochure on child trafficking in Austria, describing the situation of victims and providing advice for assisting victims.

F. The government continued its campaign encouraging tourists and travel agencies to report cases of child sex tourism.

G. The government funds courses conducted by LEFOE/IBF required for all members of peacekeeping missions, to sensitize them to the issue of human trafficking.


A. The government engages with other governments and multilateral organizations to focus attention and devote resources to addressing human trafficking. Law enforcement agencies work in close cooperation with their counterparts in neighboring countries and throughout Europe. The government also partners with IOM and UN organizations in international efforts to combat trafficking. The UN anti-trafficking organization UN.GIFT is located in Vienna.

B. The government provides international assistance to other -- consultations on the Western Sahara.
2. The U.S. objective is to indicate support for the UN-led process.
Talking Points
3. (SBU) Begin Points:

-- I want to thank Ambassador Ross for his briefing.

-- The U.S. government continues to fully support the UN Secretary General and Ambassador Ross in their efforts to find a peaceful, sustainable, and mutually-agreed solution to the Western Sahara conflict.

-- We welcome the two rounds of informal talks held under Ambassador Ross,s auspices, both those in August and February 10-11, and appreciate the UN Special Envoy,s review of the discussions held to date and the suggested next steps.

-- Such talks promote the goal of increasing trust between the parties. Given the serious issues facing the region, we hope that all parties will continue to engage in confidence building measures.

-- While recent events have intensified some of the existing tensions in the area, we hope that all parties will focus on the need to resolve the question of Western Sahara in accordance with resolution 1871 and previous Security Council resolutions.

-- (If raised) The purpose of today,s briefing is not to review the MINURSO mandate which will be addressed in April after the Secretary General,s report has been issued.

-- (If raised) The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Maghreb Affairs met with the four delegations following the second round of informal talks to directly express U.S. government support for the UN negotiation process and the importance of finding a mutually agreed solution to the WS conflict. CLINTON

Category: Breaking News
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