General information: situation on trafficking in human beings
Czechia is considered mainly a target and a transit country, however at the same time, it can still be deemed as a source country as well. Compared to the previous years, the criminal activity connected to trafficking in human beings has not undergone any major changes; neither in the detected forms of trafficking in human beings, nor in the modus operandi used by the perpetrators. Conduct and behaviour of offenders appears to be sophisticated, what was confirmed also by the predominant use of deceit, abuse or dependency from the side of the perpetrators.
As regards countries of origin of victims identified in Czechia, mainly countries like Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Hungary have been identified. Czech Republic is also a source country, Czech citizens are trafficked mainly to the United Kingdom, but also to other countries or within the country itself.
The focus of offenders is still on vulnerable groups of persons, primarily in the phase of their recruitment for different types of work to be done, both in Czechia and abroad. Foreign nationals, mainly those who have lost their jobs in Czechia and are facing administrative expulsion, followed by persons from socially excluded localities, mentally disabled people and homeless people are among the most common vulnerable groups. The access of these persons to the labour market is hindered, and thus they are often lured by a vision of income that they would not be able to gain under normal circumstances. Their ability to ask for help in cases where they become victims of such treatment is also decreased, either because of their handicap, or due to societal prejudices, or, in the case of foreigners, the absence of a residence permit.
The most common forms of trafficking in human beings in Czechia remain trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation and trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced marriage.
Throughout the last ten years, the number of both detected and resolved criminal offences of trafficking in human beings has oscillated around tens of cases every year. It is clear that, while in 2000 this type of criminality showed lower numbers, since 2010 the number of detected, as well as resolved criminal offences of trafficking in human beings, has increased. Only in 2015 there has been a certain drop in the number of resolved cases and, additionally, in the number of crimes.
Institutional, legal and policy framework to address trafficking in human beings
- Act No. 40/2009 Coll., the Criminal Code, amended
- Act No. 141/1961 Coll., the Code of Criminal Procedure, amended
- Act No. 418/2011 Coll., on Criminal Liability of Legal Persons and Procedure against them, amended
- Act No. 45/2013 Coll., on victims of criminal acts and on the Amendment to Some Other Acts, amended
- Act No. 108/2006 Coll., on Social Services, amended
- Act No. 209/1997 Coll., on Financial Assistance to Victims of Criminal Offences and on the Amendment to Some Other Acts, amended
- Act No. 326/1999 Coll. on the Residence of Foreign Nationals and on the Amendment to Some Other Acts, amended
- Act No. 262/2006 Coll., the Labour Code, amended
- Act No. 325/1999 Coll., on Asylum, amended
- Act No. 435/2004 S Coll., on Employment, amended
Prosecution of traffickers and perpetrators
Trafficking in human beings is prohibited under the Czech Criminal Code. Article 168 of the Criminal Code criminalizes all forms of trafficking.
From a long-term perspective, it is evident that the ratio of unsuspended sentences to suspended sentences is changing - the courts more frequently decide to give unsuspended sentences of imprisonment.
Article 168: Trafficking in Human Beings
(1) Whoever tempts, arranges for, hires, lures, seduces, transports, hides, detains or surrenders a child to be used for the purposes of:
- Sexual intercourse of other forms of sexual abuse, harassment or the production of pornographic materials by another person;
- Procurement of tissues, cells or organs from the child´s body by another person;
- Military service;
- Slavery or servitude, or
- Forced labour or other forms of exploitation, or whoever profits from such acts;
shall be sentenced to imprisonment for two to ten years.
(2) The same penalty shall be applicable to whoever uses violence, the threat of violence or of grievous injury, or employs deception or abuses the error, duress or dependence of a person not falling within paragraph 1, to tempt, arrange for, hire, lure, seduce, transport, hide, detain or surrender the said person be used for the purposes of:
a) Sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual abuse, harassment of the production of pornographic materials by another person;
b) Procurement of tissues, cells or organs from the person´s body by another person;
c) Military service;
d) Slavery or servitude, or
e) Forced labour or other forms of exploitation, or whoever profits from such acts.
(3) Imprisonment for five to twelve years or confiscation of property shall be applicable to whoever
a) Commits any such act as mentioned in paragraph 1 or 2 as a member of an organised group;
b) Exposes through such act another person to the danger of grievous bodily injury or death;
c) Commits such an act with the intent of gaining significant benefit for herself/himself or for another person, or
d) Commits such an act with the intent of procuring the use of another person for prostitution.
(4) Imprisonment for eight to fifteen years or confiscation of property shall be applicable to whosoever
a) Causes grievous bodily injury by any such act as mentioned in paragraph 1 or 2;
b) Commits such an act with the intent of gaining benefit of significant scope for herself/himself or for another, or
c) Commits such an act while being connected to an international group active in several States.
(5) Imprisonment for ten to sixteen years or confiscation of property shall be applicable to whosoever causes death by any such act as mentioned in paragraph 1 or 2.
(6) Preparation is liable to punishment.
Czechia continuously adopts a number of preventive measures. Some of measures are already a traditional part of wider preventive targeting, for example: migrants, persons from socially excluded communities, people working in certain sectors of the economy, or workers contracted by employment agencies. These measures provide extensive information, or communicate a broader message, e.g. campaigns against violence against women and children, or the information provided to migrants about their labour rights.
Then there are measures targeting the concrete vulnerable groups of persons identified according to both official statistics and experts on the current situation and trends in trafficking in human beings in Czechia and EU. Among these activities belong trainings provided to consular staff of the Czech embassies abroad, seminars and trainings for children (all persons under 18 years of age) and staff at orphanages and other child care and protection centres or facilities, including centres for teenage and children migrants.
The first official document addressing the issue of trafficking in human beings was the 2003 National Strategy for the Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation in Czechia. The Strategy was designed to implement international instruments regarding trafficking into Czech national policy. This strategy assigned the role of National Rapporteur to the Ministry of Interior (MoI).
The current strategy is the National Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in Czechia for the Period 2020 – 2023. This strategy is available on the following webpage: https://www.mvcr.cz/clanek/obchod-s-lidmi-dokumenty-924305.aspx.
Programmes addressing trafficking in human beings
The Support and Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings Programme (Victim Protection Programme) was established by the Ministry of the Interior in 2003, designated for probable adult victims, both in case of foreigners being trafficked in Czechia, and Czech citizens being victims in foreign countries. It is administrated by the Crime Prevention Department, Ministry of the Interior. The main aims of the Programme are to ensure support and protection of human rights and the dignity of the victims, to motivate the victims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities, and to enable the victims to return to their countries of origin safely. All this without cost, thanks to the Programme of Voluntary return. The main advantages of the programme is comprehensive help and assistance to the victims.
Victims of trafficking are granted a 60-day period of reflection, during which they can decide whether to participate in criminal investigations. During this period the victims receive comprehensive assistance. This may include asylum accommodation, health care, financial assistance, additional social care, psychological and social advisory services, psychotherapeutical services, legal advisory services, assistance with voluntary return to the country of origin and follow up social assistance, long-term social integration, support in seeking jobs, re-qualifying training courses, and other. Victims who cooperate in criminal proceedings are then granted temporary residence and work visas for the duration of the relevant legal proceedings.
There exists the institute of issuing long term residence permit for the purpose of protection under the law 326/1999 Coll., which states the conditions for this status, specifically the article 42e which identifies victims of trafficking in human being as a category eligible for this status in case they choose to cooperate with the law enforcement authorities.
National strategy to combat trafficking in human beings, status report on trafficking in human beings in Czechia: http://www.mvcr.cz/clanek/obchod-s-lidmi-dokumenty-924305.aspx
Relevant links to national authorities and institutions websites, and other relevant contacts
The National Rapporteur for trafficking in human beings was established in Czechia in 2003. This was a result of the first Czech policy paper: A National Strategy to Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings for Sexual Exploitation. The National Rapporteur is assigned to the Ministry of Interior, within the Crime Prevention Department.
The Minister of Interior is in charge of Inter-ministerial Coordination Group which is responsible for coordinating activities in the area of combating trafficking in human beings. Permanent members of Inter-ministerial Coordination Group are representatives of individual ministries as well as representatives of non-governmental and non-profit making organisations dealing with the issue of trafficking in human beings and a representative of the International Organisation for Migration Prague.
National Rapporteur or equivalent mechanism
Ministry of Interior of Czechia
Crime Prevention Department
Nad Štolou 936/3, Prague 7, 170 34, P. O. Box 21/OBP
NGOs and organisations
La Strada Czechia
P.O.Box305, 111 21 Praha 1
Telephone: +420 222 721 810
Hotline: +420 222 717 171
International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
Na Poříčí 1041/12, 110 00, Prague 1
Telephone: +420 233 370 160,
Archdiocesan Charity Prague
Arcidiecézní charita Praha
ADCH Praha, Londýnská 44, 120 00, Praha 2
Telephone: + 420 739 002 909
Diaconia of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren
Belgická 22, 120 00 Praha 2
Telephone: +420 242 487 812,
Rozkoš bez rizika
Bolzanova 1, 110 00 Praha 1
Vlhká 10, 602 00 Brno
Česká 20, 370 01 České Budějovice
Macharova 7, 702 00 Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz
Telephone: +420 224 234 453,