Local Court (AG) - Berlin-Tiergarten, Penal Order as of 2/20/2008
File number 3St Js 723/05

Key issues

Criminal proceedings regarding human trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation; exploitation in a specialty restaurant; comments on wage claims.

Summary

On application by the public prosecutor, the court ordered a term of imprisonment of six months. The enforcement of the sentence was suspended and the person put on probation.

The accused operated an Ethiopian specialty restaurant in which the female injured party, an Ethiopian national, worked as a cook from June 2004 to December 2005. The two parties concluded an employment contract in August 2003 pursuant to which the woman undertook to work as a specialty cook for US$ 200 per month. The number of working hours per week had not been stipulated in the contract. The accused was obligated to supply room and board and medical coverage.
During the material time, the woman had to work for the accused and his wife 85.5 hours per week in the restaurant and an additional 24 hours cleaning and managing their private household. The couple threatened her with the “racist German authorities” and by telling her that she would be sent back to her country of origin where she would be tortured or killed, and they took her passport away. The woman spoke no German. By doing this, the perpetrators exploited a so-called "foreign-country-connected-vulnerability". In addition, the wife of the accused justified the failure to pay wages by falsely claiming that they had paid EUR 20,000 for a hospital stay of the injured party.
The woman received a total of EUR 100 for her entire work. Based on the customary minimum wage in that locality, she would have earned around EUR 72,000 in total. The court regarded this as being “strikingly incongruous” with the customary working conditions of other male or female employees in that locality.

Decision in full text:

AG_Berlin_Tiergarten_20_02_2008 (PDF, 555 KB, not barrier-free, in German)

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