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

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Spain

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 June 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Spain, 12 June 2007, 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 a transit and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. While most victims are women between the ages of 18 and 24 trafficked for sexual exploitation, females as young as 16 are also trafficked to Spain for the same purpose and men are trafficked for forced labor, usually in agriculture. Primary source countries for victims trafficked to Spain are Romania, Russia, Brazil, Colombia and Nigeria, though victims are trafficked from other areas of Latin America and Eastern Europe as well as from Sierra Leone. In smaller numbers, Chinese women are trafficked to Spain for sexual exploitation and Chinese men for labor exploitation.

The Government of Spain fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Spain aggressively investigated, arrested, and prosecuted trafficking crimes, closely monitoring these efforts through effective crime data collection. Spain's anti-trafficking legislation includes victim protection mechanisms, which are implemented largely through government cooperation with NGOs. To strengthen its response to trafficking, Spain should finalize its national action plan to combat trafficking and continue and expand its demand reduction efforts.


The Government of Spain demonstrated strong efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement in the last year. Spain prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons though Article 318 of its Criminal and Penal Code, which was passed in 1995 and amended in 2003 to increase the sentence for sex trafficking to 5 to 15 years' imprisonment and the penalty for labor trafficking to 4 to 12 years in prison, both sufficiently stringent penalties. The penalty prescribed for sex trafficking is commensurate with the nation's 15-year maximum sentence for rape. In December 2006, the Council of Ministers approved increasing sentences for trafficking by two to six years in prison if the perpetrator belongs to a criminal organization. During the reporting period, Spanish police dismantled 177 sex trafficking networks and 63 labor trafficking rings. Police arrested 862 individuals for sex trafficking and 177 for labor trafficking. In 2006, police launched 272 investigations, prosecuted 113 trafficking cases and convicted 178 traffickers with an average prison sentence of 5.1 years. Approximately 75 percent of these sentences were greater than four years.


The government sustained impressive efforts to provide care for trafficking victims during the year. Spanish police continued to refer rescued victims to NGOs providing temporary shelter and rehabilitation services. In 2006, Spain increased funding by approximately five percent to anti-trafficking NGOs providing care to victims, providing one NGO with 177,432 euros. Victims receive medical assistance, including emergency care, through the national health care system. The police identified 1,832 sex trafficking victims and 456 labor trafficking victims in 2006. The government encourages victims to assist in trafficking investigations and prosecutions by providing work and residence permits to victims choosing to assist, giving them the option of either permanent residence status or funding to return to their own countries after the prosecution. Victims are not inappropriately incarcerated, fined or penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked.


Spain sustained strong efforts to raise awareness about trafficking. During the reporting period, Spain's inter-agency trafficking working group began drafting a National Integral Plan Against Trafficking in Persons expected to be finalized in 2007. A Congressional report on prostitution released in February 2007 called for strengthening the fight against sex trafficking networks and increasing assistance to victims, and will be included in the finalized plan. The Madrid city government focused efforts in the past year to reduce demand for prostitution – and by extension, trafficking – by targeting potential male clients with posters reading "Because you pay, prostitution exists."

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