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The Legal Framework of Trafficking and Smuggling in Germany: Victim Protection Emerging from Witness Protection?

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Chapter Summary

Contrary to the European, and to some degree the international level, German immigration law does not explicitly lay down one single rule resolving the conflict of breaches of immigration law by victims of smuggling or trafficking specifically. At the intersection of German criminal and immigration law, there is a limited scope for the recognition of victim status. The victim role in criminal and procedure law may affect the application of immigration rules. Generally, victims are only protected in so far as there is public interest in their stay. From the point of view of the trafficked and smuggled person, the need for protection is threefold: First, protection from criminal prosecution for illegal entry or residence; second, protection by residence status, contingent on their importance as a witness or not; third, witness protection if they are assisting in the prosecution of their traffickers and smugglers.

Keywords: criminal prosecution; German immigration law; illegal entry; legal framework; smuggling; trafficking; victim protection; witness protection



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