The defendant took the victim away from her family in Morocco with the pretext of marrying her in Belgium. The defendant also paid a sum to the victim’s family which they interpreted to be the dowry.
Upon arrival in Belgium, the victim was forced to engage in sexual intercourse with the defendant, to work at the defendant’s house and to serve him and his mother. The victim was also physically abused by the defendant.
When the defendant ‘got tired’ of the victim he threw her out on the street. With no resources, the victim was unable to go back to her family in Morocco.
With respect to the claim of human trafficking, the Court found that the defendant had taken advantage of the victim’s vulnerable position, since she was staying illegally in the country and she was a minor. The Court also relied on the reports of a psychologist and a forensic psychiatrist in order to come to these conclusions. The fact that the defendant hit the victim and lied to her and her family about his intentions to marry the victim, was also considered to be an aggravated circumstance. The victim’s testimony where she stated that she was not forced to work, but simply did it out of boredom, did not alter the findings of the Court. Finally, the defendant’s argument that the victim’s mother had agreed to him taking the victim to Belgium, and that the victim’s sister and her husband had passively cooperated, was considered void by the Court, since these actors were deceived by the defendant.
Regarding the second charge of engaging in sexual relations with a minor, the Court found these allegations to be proven based on the statements made by the victim. The lack of a DNA-investigation was not considered relevant in that sense.
When determining the appropriate sentence for the defendant, the Court took into account the fact that the defendant is a lawyer, and considered that he had seriously breached the oath he took as a lawyer.
Defendant G.R. was defendant Q.'s mother.
Court of Appeals of Antwerp