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ECHR ruling: Victims of human trafficking have the right to compensation

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ECHR ruling: Victims of human trafficking have the right to compensation

As of: November 28, 2023 6:43 p.m

Victims of human trafficking can claim lost wages. This was decided by the European Court of Human Rights. The lawsuit was filed by a Bulgarian woman who had been forced into prostitution.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has granted a woman forced into prostitution the right to compensation for lost wages. It is the first time that the European Court of Human Rights has granted such a right to victims of human trafficking.

In this specific case, a woman from Bulgaria demanded the money she had earned as a forced prostitute from her former pimp. She was forced into prostitution by her partner for several months. He had taken away her ID and the money she earned as a prostitute.

Bulgarian courts had denied the claim

The pimp was convicted as a human trafficker in 2017 – but the woman was only awarded small compensation. The Bulgarian courts ruled that she was not entitled to her wages as a prostitute. Because the money was earned through “indecent and immoral work” – and returning this income would violate “good morals.”

The EMGR has now ruled that she must be entitled to this money. If forced prostitutes were entitled to compensation for their wages, they could use the money to rebuild their lives, the argument goes. In addition, human traffickers are not allowed to benefit financially from forced prostitution.

Because the Bulgarian courts had denied the wage claim, the Strasbourg judges also ordered Bulgaria to pay the plaintiff 6,000 euros in compensation.

Max Bauer, SWR, tagesschau, November 28th, 2023 5:51 p.m

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With information from Max Bauer, ARD legal editor

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