France: Case shows that trafficking charges can be used in labour exploitation cases
Author: Helen Bidard, Shelley Marshall, Published on: 1 May 2018
In the Spring of 2014, news broke in Paris of employees in a beauty salon who were, according to the labour inspector who reported the case, working in the worst conditions she had seen...The workers felt trapped because they were undocumented: they had recently arrived in France. In 2014, with the encouragement of their union (the CGT) the employees of 57 Boulevard de Strasbourg, Paris, took the extraordinary step, for these types of undocumented workers, of striking and making a complaint to the labour inspectorate...A case was then filed which claimed not only breaches of labour law, but also of trafficking...In November 2016, the employer was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison, one of which was suspended. He appealed. On Thursday February 8, he lost his appeal and was sentenced to one year in prison for 'trafficking'. He is prohibited from attending the 10th arrondissement of Paris for three years and received a permanent ban on managing a facility. He must also pay 1,500 Euros in damages to each of the 19 civil parties, the CGT and the 18 employees...The case marks an extension of the application of the law of trafficking. "To my knowledge, this is the first time that the court recognizes in a context of collective work in a company that employees have been subjected to human trafficking" , said Maxime Cessieux, the lawyer of the CGT and employees.