Prosecution – Austria

1. Crimes
2. Making a Police Statement
3. After Questioning

If, in a raid, police pick up an migrant sex worker who has no residence permit and/or no work permit, they will initiate an enquiry against her regarding immigration offences.
Criminal proceedings will be initiated against her only if she has committed a crime in another matter (e.g. theft, fraud). In this case the woman is an accused party.


1. Crimes

The facilitation or toleration of illegal prostitution is a crime.
Other infringements of law, such as working without adequate permits, failure to undergo mandatory health checks or failure to register are not criminal offences, but may cause the woman to be fined. (See Sex Work.)

2. Making a Police Statement

A. Right to Remain Silent

The accused has the right to remain silent. Even in answering questions about other people she need say nothing which incriminates her.

B. Translator

The accused is entitled to the services of a translator in her own language. If she feels unable to trust the translator, she may refuse her/him.

C. Lawyer

The accused is entitled to her lawyer’s presence at the hearing.
Hint: Memorise a lawyer’s telephone number!

D. Custody

The accused may be held in police custody, but only up to 48 hours. After this time a judge must make a verbal decision whether to detain her for examination purposes or for deportation.
If a woman is detained, she should always establish contact to an advisory centre/lawyer. The advisors can visit and support her.

E. Victims of Trafficking in Women

The woman may not only be accused, but also a victim of trafficking in women or of other serious crimes. She then has special rights.
In this case she should insist that police establish contact to the advisory centre Lefö/IBF (see Useful Addresses).

3. After Questioning

A. Immigration Offences

A woman who has committed an immigration offence (illegal residency, illegal employment) will be expelled from Austria if she does not possess a residence permit and is not entitled to remain on humanitarian grounds (see information in Migration). She will be placed in remand pending deportation and subsequently deported.

B. Crimes

Where crimes have been committed (e.g. facilitating prostitution – renting rooms, theft, fraud etc.) the investigation authorities will initiate proceedings against the woman. A criminal charge and legal proceedings may follow. If a criminal sentence is passed, the woman may also lose her right to residency. This depends on the severity of the sentence and the type of residence permit.
If investigation proceedings are initiated against the woman, she should always seek a lawyer’s advice!
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