Thursday, November 27, 2014

New high court decision will help to prosecute traffickers in Germany

On October 8 2014 our associate partner KOK co-hosted (with Terre des femmes and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung) a major conference “Focus on Women’s Rights” in Berlin, where the consequences for Germany of EU law against trafficking and of the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe were discussed. There, Carol Hagemann-White learnt of a recent high court decision that will enable prosecutors as well as lawyers representing trafficked women to obtain convictions more easily.

Prosecuting traffickers in Germany has been difficult, not only because victims may not be willing or able to testify, but also because “coercion” and “exploitation” are often hard to prove. On July 16, 2014 the federal high court of Germany issued a decision (rejecting an appeal by a convicted trafficker in the case of three Nigerian women) that the key criterion of coercion is sufficiently proven by the fact that the women had been in a precarious economic situation in their home country. This is a decision with far reaching implications! The court ruled that the ensuing restriction of the women’s freedom of action and decision had the concrete effect of reducing their ability to resist attacks on their sexual self-determination. It is thus not necessary to prove any further circumstances beyond the predominating negative social conditions in the home country. Furthermore, it is irrelevant whether or not the victims had already decided to work as prostitutes in Germany before being trafficked to this country, or whether the coercive pressures used by the accused after they were brought to Germany (such as the demand that they work to pay off a debt) led to their final compliance. If you are interested in the original document you can find a pdf here.

From the original German text of the court ruling (Bundesgerichtshof  5 StR 154/14):


Der Senat entnimmt den Feststellungen, dass das Merkmal der „Zwangslage“ schon bei der „Rekrutierung“ der drei Nebenklägerinnen in Nigeria erfüllt war. Alle Nebenklägerinnen befanden sich in ihrem Heimatland in prekären wirtschaftlichen Verhältnissen (vgl. auch UA S. 46). Die damit verbundene Einschränkung ihrer Entscheidungs- und Handlungsmöglichkeiten war – was genügt – konkret geeignet, ihren Widerstand gegen Angriffe auf die sexuelle Selbstbestimmung herabzusetzen (vgl. zu § 180b StGB aF BGH, Beschluss vom 25. Februar 1997 – 4 StR 40/97, BGHSt 42, 399, 400 f.; Eisele in Schönke/Schröder, StGB, 29. Aufl., § 232 Rn. 10 mwN; siehe auch BT-Drucks. 12/2046 S. 4). Es ist dementsprechend nicht erforderlich, dass zu den im Heimatland der Opfer herrschenden schlechten sozialen Verhältnissen in Bezug auf das jeweilige Opfer noch weitere erschwerende Umstände hinzu-kommen (aM wohl Fischer, StGB, 61. Aufl., § 232 Rn. 9). Damit kann letztlich offenbleiben, ob die Opfer – durch die Angeklagte veranlasst – bereits vor ihrer Einschleusung beschlossen hatten, in Deutschland die Prostitution aufzunehmen, oder ob dieser Entschluss erst durch die Maßnahmen der Angeklagten in Deutschland (unter anderem Forderung, Beträge von über 50.000 € „abzuarbeiten“, Hinweis auf den „Voodoo-Eid“; vgl. dazu UA S. 45 f.) endgültig bewirkt

Monday, November 17, 2014

DIJuF statement regarding future handling of minor refugees

The increase of unaccompanied minor refugees over last years and months caused a critical situations. The communities in which most of the children and juveniles arrive lack care facilities as well as qualified personnel. Therefore Bavaria tabled a bill in the Federal Assembly which takes a distinct regulatory approach of distributing the young persons by quotas throughout Germany.

Aspects of the children’s best interest are not taken into account yet. The Länder Bavaria, Berlin, Hamburg and North Rhine-Westfalia held a hearing in Berlin on 14 Nov. 2014. The DIJuF participated and promoted the children’s rights. For more information see

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hearing in celebration of 25yrs CRC

The Children Commission (Kinderkommission) of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) invited to a hearing in celebration of 25 years CRC on 12 November 2014. The Members of Parliament posed 20 questions concerning the status of the implementation of children’s rights in Germany. Hearing and participation of the child, complaint procedures and issues related to children in families from a minority group or with a migration background are core topics. As one of the four experts, Dr. Thomas Meysen will be able to refer to the first findings from CEINAV on cultural encounters in interventions against child abuse and neglect.