Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Spain

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Spain, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 27 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.

Spain (Tier 1)

Spain is both a destination and transit country for trafficked persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation and, to a lesser degree, forced labor. Victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation come primarily from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Russia, but an increasing number of victims come from Romania. Occasional cases involve victims trafficked for forced labor in agriculture, sweatshops, and restaurants. Reports increased of trafficking in Latvian boys and adolescents for both labor and sexual exploitation. Spain is a transit country for trafficking victims destined for Portugal and Italy.

The Government of Spain fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Effective law enforcement measures continued, with some additional international operations taken since last year's report.


The government, under its Strategic Plan on Immigration, explicitly recognizes the need to fight trafficking in persons, operates information awareness literature campaigns, funding for information and prevention campaigns in major source countries, and a referral system by the police for trafficking victim support.


Spanish law adequately prohibits internal and international trafficking in persons. The law assigns stiff penalties to traffickers, depending on the severity of the trafficking, and contains a specific provision for labor trafficking. Within the last year, the government broke up approximately 217 networks and arrested 880 individuals, including 164 in Madrid and 71 in Murcia, for involvement in human trafficking. In March, the National Court sentenced eight people to 4-15 year prison sentences for trafficking persons from Ukraine into forced labor and debt bondage. Exploitation of prostitutes and minors through coercion and fraud is prohibited. Immigration authorities are especially active in dismantling human trafficking organizations and regional and local governments provide significant law enforcement assistance to control illegal immigration and dismantle trafficking networks. The National Police Academy offers courses on trafficking in persons and document fraud, as well as methods for identifying traffickers. Spain cooperates with other governments on trafficking cases via INTERPOL and Europol; however, cooperation with Latvia, a known source country, remains weak.


The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs investigates substandard working conditions and provides funding to organizations that assist trafficking victims. Spanish law provides for temporary residence for undocumented persons who cooperate with law enforcement to prosecute migrant smugglers, including traffickers. Undocumented trafficking victims who are scheduled for deportation are eligible for free legal assistance from both government and non-governmental sources. Victims who are granted the right to stay in Spain in return for testimony against traffickers are authorized to work and travel within the country, but generally are only eligible for emergency medical care. The government funds shelters, which can accommodate trafficking victims, and national, regional, and local governments fund domestic NGOs, which provide assistance to trafficking victims.

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