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Country: BelgiumX
Found 32 cases
  • BEL003C/118/2013 [2013]
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/traffickingpersonscrimetype/bel/2013/c1182013_2013.html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2013-01-23
    Sentence Date : 2013-01-23
  • Defendant 1, a Portuguese trader; Defendant 2, a Portuguese servant; Defendant 3, a Portuguese manager; and Defendant 4, Batisoft Ltd. were charged with human trafficking under the following aggravating circumstances: the victim’s particularly vulnerable position was abused; the activity had taken place on a continuous basis; and the crime was committed in the capacity of an association between 1 August 2008 and 13 May 2009, in Brugge, Sint-Joost-Ten-Node, and elsewhere in Belgium.

    From the testimony of the victim and the conducted investigation, it was proven that employees at Batisoft Ltd. were not provided with safety clothes for their work. The victim also complained about excessive working hours. The victim did not have a legal permit to stay in Belgium, but was free to come and go.

    The Court of Appeal ruled against the Court of First Instance, and reversed the guilty verdict of the defendants.

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  • BEL001Not. Nr. 1214/07
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/traffickingpersonscrimetype/bel/2010/not._nr._121407_.html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2010-01-25
    Sentence Date : 2010-01-25
  • The victim, S., was discovered on 28 January 2006 on board a ship for inland navigation working as a sailor. He did not have a working permit, and therefore was considered an illegal alien. The victim had worked as a sailor on the ship since 8 December 2005, and had been hired by Defendant 1, the ship owner.

    The victim declared that he had been contracted through an official agency (Sanara). This agency was recruiting Romanian shipping crews to work in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The victim had an individual contract for embarkation, written in English. The victim stated that although he did not speak English, he understood that he would receive a monthly wage of EUR 750 plus board and lodging, and was also aware of the expected work load. These conditions made him decide to travel to Antwerp, Belgium. From the victim’s testimony, it may be concluded that he had worked voluntarily and under the conditions he had agreed to. Furthermore, the victim was receiving even a higher salary than originally agreed upon, of EUR 900 a month. Defendant 1 stated that the victim worked as an independent worker. Every month the victim presented an invoice for his services to Defendant 1, and the money was paid accordingly.

    Defendant 2, the captain of the ship, declared that the ship usually navigated only 5 days a week. He also stated that the victim was responsible for keeping the ship clean and in good condition, and for  facilitating passage through the lock-gates. Working hours for the captain himself and the victim were not fixed, falling between 06:00 and 22:00, but often finishing earlier at around 19:30.

    Both Defendants declared that the victim was provided the same meals as Defendant 2. The Court concluded that these statements were likely to be true, because the victim in his testimony did not complain about the meals.

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  • BEL032First Instance Court of Brussels 09-03-2011
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/traffickingpersonscrimetype/bel/2011/first_instance_court_of_brussels_09-03-2011.html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2011-03-09
    Sentence Date : 2011-03-09
  • The defendant managed 5 companies, employing a number of domestic workers. Some of the employees (mostly women) in these companies complained about the companies’ failure to apply the Belgian labour laws, denouncing, in particular, the non-payment of salaries, the non-declaration of employment to the social services, the non-payment of the annual holiday pay, the failure of the companies to provide social insurance…etc.

    The employees interrogated said that the defendant could be aggressive and offensive, and several of the victims affirmed that they were scared of him. The employees maintained that the defendant threatened them with termination of their employment in order to coerce them to work longer hours. Moreover, whenever the workers were entitled to days off (i.e.: sickness leave), the defendant refused to grant them such days off and/or pressured them into coming back to work as soon as possible. It appears that most employees were in vulnerable social situations before beginning to work in these companies, due to long unemployment periods, precarious jobs and economic hardship.

    The infringement period in this case is long, starting before 2005, when the first investigations were launched by the Belgian authorities, and continuing until 2008; and concerns overall over 60 employees. From the case we can infer that the Belgian social security and labour inspection services had been suspicious of the companies’ activities for a long time, as several inspections were launched, the results of which were used in the judicial proceedings.

    The defendant pretended to be a counsellor in these companies, but in reality he was managing them all, and was the majority stakeholder of 3 of the companies. The police also found him in possession of an important sum of money. 

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  • BEL002Not. 668/09 [2010]
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/traffickingpersonscrimetype/bel/2010/not._66809_2010.html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2010-06-17
    Sentence Date : 2010-02-17
  • The case concerns trafficking in Chinese nationals for the purpose of exploitation in the construction sector. Three defendants (one of them a restaurant owner and one a restaurant manager) were accused of exploiting Chinese nationals between June and July 2006.

    The Chinese victims worked on a construction site (rebuilding a Chinese restaurant) six or seven days a week from 8 am to 11 am and from 4 pm  to 6 or 7 pm.  At the time of the victims’ testimonies to the police, they had not received any salary for their work and did not know what amount of payment they were to receive.  

    Defendant 1, the restaurant owner, had been responsible for the recruitment of the victims and for their transfer to the construction site. The victims did not have a working permit in Belgium and were only allowed to stay in the country for three months.

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  • BEL021Correctional Tribunal of Brussels 02-02-2011
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/traffickingpersonscrimetype/bel/2011/correctional_tribunal_of_brussels_02-02-2011.html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2011-02-02
    Sentence Date : 2011-02-02
  • Between 2007 and 2010, each of the defendants performed the following activities:

    - Convinced the victims, sometimes through the use of threats, to engage in prostitution in Brussels, Belgium;

    - Paid for the victims’ airplane tickets and completed the journey from Bulgaria to Belgium with the victims;

    - Provided the victims with accommodation, telephone numbers, etc. in Belgium;

    - Forced the victims to work as prostitutes for long hours every day; and

    - Forced the victims to give them most of their earnings.

    The first defendant, S.I.G., was reported by the Bulgarian police and authorities to the Brussels authorities.The second defendant, B.I.M., was also one of the victims.

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  • BEL005Limited Liability Company T.C. et al.
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/traffickingpersonscrimetype/bel/2009/limited_liability_company_t.c._et_al..html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2009-04-06
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  • BEL004Case No. P.08.0951.N
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/traffickingpersonscrimetype/bel/2008/case_no._p.08.0951.n.html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2008-11-25
    Sentence Date : 2008-04-21
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  • BEL029Correctional Tribunal of Nivelles 25-01-2013
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/traffickingpersonscrimetype/bel/2013/correctional_tribunal_of_nivelles_25-01-2013.html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2013-01-25
  • The defendant was arrested on August 25th, 2012, while he was in his car and had just picked up a person who had been begging in the car park of a supermarket. Another person was found the following day in the car park of a different supermarket, and told the police that he had been waiting for the defendant to pick him up. A third person was found the same day in the car park of another supermarket. All three victims were physically disabled and moved around in a wheelchair. None of them spoke French.

    The three victims reported that they were living in an institution in Slovakia, when the defendant had offered to take them to his place, pretending he was their cousin. The victims lived in one single room with other disabled people and could not access other parts of the house. The defendant had already brought the victims to Belgium to beg on several occasions. He left them in the car park of a supermarket at the opening time and came to pick them up when the store closed, 6 days a week. The defendant took all the money they collected, as well as the social benefits received by the victims in Slovakia. It appears that the victims and the defendant all slept in the car during their stay in Belgium.

    On the day of the arrest the police found 4 pillows, 650 €  in cash, a large quantity of coins, and French-language signs asking for money in the defendant’s car. The police investigation found that the defendant had been previously convicted in Slovakia for his involvement in similar activities, and that investigations had also been conducted in Germany and in Slovenia. It seems that the defendant was acting alone and was not part of a network.

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  • BEL031Case No. 2013/1339
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/migrantsmugglingcrimetype/bel/2013/case_no._20131339.html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2013-04-23
    Sentence Date : 2013-04-23
  • On the 17th of November 2010, two Bulgarian women entered a police station in Liège, and claimed that they were being forced into prostitution. The police decided to examine the mobile phone of one of the victims with her agreement, and put in place a telephone wiretapping device.

    The police launched an investigation, and observed the defendants, in order to check their contacts with people engaged in prostitution, to establish a potential hierarchy among the defendants, and to locate the place where the victims were being hosted.

    The police found that the four appellants were working in an organised manner in order to constantly monitor and control the victims, and also imposed a certain working rhythm over the girls. Moreover, one of the defendants was seen by the police while collecting money from the victims and another defendant was arrested in possession of an important sum of money.This evidence was supported by the testimonies of the victims: one of the victims stated that she had been forced to give all the money she earned to the defendant, who threatened to break her legs if she left, and forced her to work even when she was sick.

    Another victim reported that she had been brought to Belgium by one of the defendants, who promised that she would work as a waitress or as a housemaid. Another victim said that a defendant had hit her and threatened her in order to force her into prostitution, and had also taken her ID card.

    The police found during their enquiry, that three of the defendants often visited a restaurant, where one of the defendants was seen with some of the victims. The victims would come and sit at the same table as the defendant and would give him something under the table.

    The defendants constantly controlled and monitored the victims and their work. During their observation of the defendants and their operation, the police witnessed how one of the defendants went to talk to one of the victims while she was on the street after midnight. The defendant talked to the victim, left and returned later in the night and argued with another victim. That same defendant came back a third time to observe a third victim.

    On the same day, another defendant was dropped off at the same place and entered the restaurant. Another defendant joined him. One hour later one of them left the restaurant with a baton in his hand and came back one minute later. Five minutes later a third defendant arrived and joined them at their table.

    Thanks to the telephone tapping, the police listened to a conversation between two of the defendants on November, 7. From that conversation, it appears that three of the defendants were responsible for the surveillance of the victims. As to the role of the fourth defendant, one of the witnesses declared that he was very good friends with one of the defendants, and that he also participated watching the victims in the street. He would also regularly change his mobile phone SIM card.One of the victims stated that this fourth defendant was also exploiting prostitutes himself. Even though the trial witness did not confirm this affirmation, it is supported by a recording of a phone conversation between two other defendants on November 10.

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  • BEL030Case No. 2012/3925
  • 2200,en,/case-law-doc/traffickingpersonscrimetype/bel/2012/case_no._20123925.html
  • Belgium
    Verdict Date: 2012-11-05
    Sentence Date : 2012-11-05
  • The company Carestel manages the motorway services in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. It concluded a contract with the company Kronos, based in Germany, concerning the cleaning of the toilets on the motorway rest area. Kronos is responsible for hiring and managing the employees cleaning the toilets. 

    Several inspections led by the labour inspection services found that the people working in the toilets were working sometimes 15 hours per day, 7 days a week, and received a very small salary. The employees were all foreign nationals, with no knowledge of the Dutch language, most of them coming from eastern Europe. They had signed a contract with Kronos that they were not able to understand, most of them were not able to say whether they were working as employees or as independent workers.

    Kronos organised its activities so that employees were living in a house belonging to the company, someone from Kronos would drive each of the employees to a rest area in the morning and pick them up in the evening. The employees took a few cents from each client going into the toilets, and put the money in a safe. An employee from Kronos came every week or several times a week to take the money.   

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22 more cases

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