[ Country-by-Country Reports ]

BELGIUM (Tier 1) Extracted in part from U.S. State Dept TIP Report, June 2020]

The Government of Belgium fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period; therefore Belgium remained on Tier 1. These efforts included investigating, prosecuting, and convicting traffickers; identifying significantly more victims; approving a new shelter for child sex trafficking victims; cooperating with foreign governments to prosecute suspected traffickers; and drafting a new national action plan. Although the government meets the minimum standards, authorities did not always follow the referral protocol for child victims, and identifying child victims remained a persistent weakness. The government continued to report inconsistent law enforcement data.

Prioritized Recommendations

Train first responders on the child victim identification and referral protocol.Continue to approve and fund the creation of new dedicated shelters for child trafficking victims.Allocate regular and timely funding for NGO-run shelters for trafficking victims and increase resources to assist unaccompanied child victims.Investigate and prosecute traffickers, sentence convicted traffickers to significant prison terms, and ensure convicted traffickers serve those terms in practice.Implement trauma-informed and victim-centered procedures during trial proceedings to minimize the risk of re-traumatization and ensure all victims, not just those under threat of physical violence, have access to witness protection services.Separate participation in the criminal justice process from receipt of victim services.Coordinate and centralize the collection of timely trafficking data across the government to effectively analyze efforts.Increase legal representation for victims and expand access to victim compensation to include those victims exploited by means other than physical violence.Revise the definition of human trafficking under Belgian law to more closely align with the definition in the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.