Belgian legal instruments

Human Trafficking

Law of 13 April 1995 containing provisions to combat trafficking and smuggling of human beings

The law introduced a series of amendments to certain articles of the Criminal Code. It is not required that the author makes use of any form of coercion and the consent of the victim became indifferent, to incriminate the offender. Moreover, the trafficking of women such as men and children for prostitution or debauchery is penalized.

The law of 13 April 1995, also punishes the dissemination of child pornography online. However, the production and the import of pornography materials featuring children are criminalized only when such acts are committed for the purpose of purchase or distribution.

Law of 10 August 2005 amending various provisions to strengthen the fight against smuggling and human trafficking and against the practices of slum landlords (link only in French)

With the law of 10 August 2005, the legal provisions on human trafficking have been profoundly changed. The offence of human trafficking is taken, as an autonomous offence in Articles 433quinquies to 433nonies and is defined for the first time, explicitly, in the Criminal Code. Consequently, aliens as well as Belgian citizens can be considered as potential victims of trafficking in human beings. Trafficking is not exclusively transnational it can be “national” and they are both punishable.

Moreover, human trafficking for sexual purposes such as other kind of exploitation can be incriminated.

Law of 29 April 2013 amending the article 433quinquies of Criminal Code aiming at clarifying and extending the definition of human trafficking (link only in French)

In order to make the definition of human trafficking as complete as possible, the law significantly changes the article 433quinquies of the Criminal Code.

Law of 24 June 2013 on the suppression of the exploitation of begging and prostitution, smuggling and human trafficking based on the number of victims (link only in French)

This law provides higher fines based on the number of victims; the fine will be multiplied by the number of victims exploited. Any form of sexual exploitation is now punishable, including sexual exploitation for personal gain.

Child sexual exploitation

Law of 13 April 1995 regarding sexual abuse against minors (link only in French)

This law inserts new provisions on the protection of child victims by ensuring accompaniment required to the minor during his hearing.

Act of 28 November 2000 regarding the penal protection of minors (link only in French)

This law complements the provisions included in the Belgian Criminal Code in 1995 regarding the sexual exploitation of children. It also introduces a new article 10ter on the principle of extra-territoriality. It is now possible to prosecute in Belgium, nationals or foreigners who commit sexual offences abroad, at least that they were committed on the person of a minor under 16 years of age.

National action plans

Action Plan against trafficking in humain beings (2015-2019)

Action Plan against trafficking in human beings for 2012-2014

The Action Plan recommends particularly the education and training of all stakeholders who may come into contact with child victims of trafficking and the preparation of a simplified information tool to facilitate the referral of trafficking victims.

Shelters for victims of trafficking

Three are three centres specialised to provide assistance and protection to victims of trafficking:

The child victims are normally housed in centers for unaccompanied minors / victims of trafficking:

  • Esperanto (Wallonia)
  • Minor-Ndako & Juna (Brussels & Flanders).