As victims of human trafficking may experience emotional, physical or material damage, compensation schemes are in place to redress any damage suffered. Even if an offender has not been convicted, victims will have opportunities available to obtain financial compensation. Compensation may consist of financial redress of any material and/or immaterial damage suffered by a victim.
Victims of human trafficking may obtain compensation in three ways:
- through criminal proceedings against the offender. The victim may choose to join criminal proceedings as an injured party and submit a claim against the accused. In addition, the court may impose a compensation order on the accused ex officio or at the request of the Public Prosecution Service;
- through civil proceedings. If the court should not impose a compensation order or if the case results in acquittal or dismissal, the victim may subsequently initiate civil proceedings in a civil court to claim damages from the offender. In the case of a positive decision from the court, however, the victim shall be responsible for ensuring that this compensation is actually paid;
- through the Violent Offences Compensation Fund. Victims may submit an application to the Violent Offences Compensation Fund for a one-off payment as financial compensation for any damage incurred. The amount of this payment may vary between € 1,000 and € 35,000.
Law enforcement authorities and the Public Prosecution Service have a duty to inform victims of their possibilities to obtain compensation.