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Trafficking in Human Beings and the French Penal Code

Thursday 28 August 2014

Trafficking in human beings is criminalised by Article 225-4-1 of the Penal Code as modified by law n°2013-711 of 5 August 2013. Here human trafficking is defined as the fact of recruiting, transporting, transfering, lodging or receiveing a person with a view to exploiting that person. Exploitation consists of procuration, sexual abuse, forced labour, reduction to slavery, the taking of an organ, expoitation of begging, housing and labour conditions which are contrary to human dignity or forced crime. Trafficking may be perpetrated by a family member, and is punishable by seven years in prison and a fine of €150,000. The punishment becomes more severe in aggravated circumstances such as when the victim is a minor or in cases of violence.

Article 224-1 A and B created by law n°2013-711 of 5 August 2013 concern reduction to slavery which is punishable by twenty years in prison. It is defined as exercising over another some or all of the characteristics of property. As before, the punishment is more severe where a minor or violence is involved.

The crime of procuration (Article 225-5 modified by Law 2003-239 2003-03-18 art. 50 1° JORF 19 March 2003) is punishable by 7 years in prison and a fine of €150,000 and covers inter alia enabling or receiving a profit from prostitution. Those acting as intermediaries between procurers and prostitutes are also criminalised. There are also specific laws concerning child prostitution.

Exploitation of begging is covered by Article 225-12-5 created by LawRetour ligne automatique
n°2003-239 of 18 March 2003 - art. 64 JORF 19 March 2003 which prohibits profiting from another’s begging or the organisation thereof. It is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of €45,000.

According to article 225-14-1 of the French Penal Code, forced labour is ‘obtaining the performance of unpaid services or services against which a payment is made which clearly bears no relation to the importance of the work performed from a person. It is punishable by seven years in prison and a fine of €200,000.’ Article 225-14-2 provides that ‘reduction to servitude is the fact of making a person suffer habitually from the infraction laid out in article 225-14-1 of a person whose vulnerability or dependence is obvious or known to the offender.’ It is punishable by ten years in prison or a fine of €300,000.

The relevant provisions of the Penal Code are attached below (in French only).

PDF - 161.7 kb

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