Abuse of vulnerability Child labour Coercive, unfair or deceptive recruitment Criminal liability Forced labour Human trafficking
Articles 433 sexies – octies of the Criminal Code establish the aggravating circumstances for the crime of human trafficking.
Anyone who has committed the offences contained in article 433sexies, 433septies and 433octies Criminal Code outside Belgian territory, can be prosecuted in Belgium (Article 10ter, 1° of the Preliminary Title of the Criminal Procedure Code) when the perpetrator can be found in Belgium (Article 12 of the Preliminary Title of the Criminal Procedure Code).
Article 433 sexies: 1° the offender abused either his/her authority over the victim; 2° the offence is committed by a public official who uses the authority inherent to his functions.
Punishment: 5 – 10 years imprisonment and a 750 – 75,000 EUR fine, multiplied by the number of victims.
Article 433 septies: 1° the victim is a minor; 2° the offender abused the particularly vulnerable situation of the victim (precarious administrative situation, precarious social situation, age, pregnancy, illness, physical or mental impairment); 3° the offender made use, directly or indirectly, of force, violence, threats or any form of coercion, abduction, abuse of power or fraud; 3bis° the offender offered or accepted payments or any other benefit to receive permission from the person who holds the authority over the victim; 4° the offence has intentionally or negligently jeopardised the life of the victim; 5° the offence has led to an incurable disease, the disability to work for at least four months; 6° the criminal activity constitutes an habitual activity; 7° the criminal activity constitutes participation in the principal or accessory activity of an association.
Punishment: 10– 15 years imprisonment and a 1,000 – 100,000 EUR fine, multiplied by the number of victims.
Article 433 octies: 1° the criminal activity caused the death of the victim without the intention to kill ; 2° the criminal activity constitutes participation in a criminal organisation.
Punishment: 15 – 20 years’ imprisonment and a 1,000 – 150,000 EUR fine, multiplied by the number of victims.
Law /Belgium / Criminal Code
The Belgian Criminal Code is the basic statutory instrument containing various provisions on penalties and offences.
The Belgian Criminal Code has been amended by numerous Acts (the provisions outlined in this database are as amended by these Acts.). The thre Acts that are most relevant to human trafficking for labour exploitation are:
- Act of 10 August 2005 amending various provisions with a view to strengthening the fight against trafficking of human beings and the practices of slum landlords: this Act has inter alia led article 433quinquies – 433novies to be inserted into the Criminal Code, thereby creating the autonomous offence of human trafficking, and has amended the offence of human smuggling contained in article 77bis – 77sexies Aliens Act .
- Act of 24 June 2013 on the punishment of the exploitation of begging and prostitution, human trafficking and smuggling in relation to the number of victims: this Act stipulates that the monetary fine that is to be imposed for the offences of exploitation of begging and prostitution (article 380 Criminal Code), human trafficking (article 433quinquies – 433novies Criminal Code), and human smuggling (article 77bis – 77quinquies Aliens Act) is to be multiplied by the number of victims.
- The Act of 31st May 2016 to further implement European regulation on the sexual exploitation of children, child pornography, human trafficking and facilitation of illegal entry, unauthorised transit and illegal residence. This Act amends articles 433septies (extension of the list of aggravating circumstances) and 433novies Criminal Code (amendment of the list of penalties). The Act also introduces article 433novies/1, that prohibits and penalises the publication and distribution of texts, drawings, photos and other images and audio clips that could give an indication of the identity of the victim of human trafficking, except when this was done with her of his written consent or within the framework of a judicial inquiry.