There were 31 cases (including suspected cases) of human trafficking reported in Luxembourg from 2017 to 2018
The government is considering changes to the labour code which would better protect witnesses in cases of suspected human trafficking.
The potential changes were discussed in a meeting between labour minister Dan Kersch, the workplace inspection authority ITM and labour commission on Thursday, following the publication of a report on human trafficking in Luxembourg.
The 100-page report (PDF, in French) from Luxembourg’s consultative commission on human rights (CCDH) recorded 11 instances of suspected human trafficking and three clear-cut cases in 2018, compared to five and 12, respectively in 2017. Over the two years, the report found that “the number of victims is increasing compared to the period before. For comparison purposes, a total of 79 victims were recorded from 2010 to 2016.”
Among the most-commonly observed cases were the trafficking for the construction sector, catering, domestic work and lorry drivers. The latter relates to an ongoing case with Weiswampach haulage firm Jost Group, which the company has denied. The report further found that if two thirds of human trafficking victims over the past two years were women, the number of male victims is increasing and over the period covered by the report, two male victims were minors.
“We have observed that the number of older victims is increasing, above all in the domain of workplace exploitation,” the report found. “It often concerns people in precarious situations, who have difficulty finding work on the regular market, and who end up being recruited on the black market where they risk being exploited.”
The report further said it was difficult to distinguish between human trafficking for work purposes and exploitation through illegal work.
ITM remit limitations
During Friday’s discussions, the CCDH expressed regret that the ITM did not detect any victims, despite carrying out over 6,000 controls from 2017-2018.
The minister said that the body does not have direct powers for detection as this responsibility falls under the scope of the police. But, labour agents are trained to detect suspicious cases and report them to police.
Furthermore, legislative changes are being reviewed to the labour code “to better protect potential witnesses--such as co-workers--in order to encourage them to report suspicious facts”, parliament explained. In future, the ITM will meanwhile keep records of suspected cases of human trafficking encountered by agents and shared with police.
Boosting inspector numbers
The ITM currently counts 21 labour inspectors for 400,000 jobs. But, even with the additional 17 inspectors expected to be sworn in shortly, it falls short of the recommended rate of one inspector per 10,000 jobs.
The CCDH also pushed for Luxembourg to ratify the 2014 Additional Protocol to the International Labour Organisation's Forced Labour Convention, providing for the development of a national action plan, education and information measures for employers, workers and the population as well as strengthening the labour inspectorate’s services. A text on the convention will be presented to the government before the end of the year.