Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Portugal

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Portugal, 3 June 2005, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Portugal (Tier 1)

Portugal is a country of destination for women, men, and children trafficked from Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Romania, and Brazil for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labor and begging. Portugal is also sometimes used as a transit point for victims en route to other European countries.

The Government of Portugal fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Although the government did not provide full data on investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences, the Secretary of State has determined that it has made a good faith effort to do so. In January 2004, the government established an anti-trafficking task force to ensure coordination and communication among relevant government bodies and NGOs. The government should take steps to ensure that all anti-trafficking efforts are documented through this task force. The Portuguese Immigration Service (SEF) established a new unit to compile trafficking-related statistics; the government should ensure that the new unit and task force actively coordinate to produce data that are complete and comprehensive. The government should also build deeper relationships with relevant NGOs to increase coordination and victim identification and to obtain more information on the nature and extent of the problem in Portugal.


Police agencies and the SEF actively implemented Portugal's anti-trafficking legislation, investigating and prosecuting trafficking-related cases throughout the year. The government reportedly initiated 408 investigations and 248 prosecutions. These numbers relate to the full range of immigration crimes, an undetermined percentage of which are trafficking related. Prison sentences ranged from 18 months to 15 years; many were in the 11 to 15 year range. Following the investigation of a major prostitution ring involving Brazilian women, a bar owner was found guilty of commercial sexual exploitation and sentenced to seven years in prison. As a result of this highly publicized case, many other bars in the city closed down due to lack of customers. On October 28, 2004, the government signed a bill expanding the definition of trafficking that will extend liability to other entities and companies, beyond the individual trafficker.


The government opened up two National Immigrant Support Centers in March and April 2004 that are providing immigrants, including trafficking victims, with multi-lingual information and assistance, including a telephone hotline. The government continued to refer victims to receive protection, shelter, employment, education, and access to services, including family reunification. According to the Portuguese Association for Victims Support, 20 trafficking victims were assisted in 2004. Throughout the reporting period, victims were directed to immigrant support centers or temporary shelters. Some were provided residency status; others were repatriated.


The government continued its practice of placing immigration liaison officers in source countries and established a new land border entry point with Spain. It also continued to conduct information campaigns aimed at the general public and targeted campaigns toward vulnerable populations in Portugal and source countries. As a result of the local media's extensive coverage of an orphanage child abuse case involving prostitution, public awareness of trafficking-related sexual exploitation has increased during the last year.

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