Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 14:39 GMT

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

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 - Portugal, 12 June 2007, available at: [accessed 17 October 2017]
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 2)

Portugal is primarily a destination and transit country for women, men, and children trafficked from Brazil, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Romania, and to a lesser extent Africa. The majority of Brazilian female victims are trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Male victims from Eastern European countries are trafficked for forced labor in the construction industry. Some trafficking victims transit through Portugal to other European countries.

The Government of Portugal does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2006, a multi-agency government center responsible for gathering trafficking-related data opened and required that police fill out a standard detailed form with case information. The parliament should pass the new anti-trafficking penal code reforms currently before it and the government should actively implement those reforms.


The Government of Portugal demonstrated weak efforts to prosecute trafficking in 2006, although it has established a system to facilitate the compiling of comprehensive law enforcement data under the category of trafficking. Portugal prohibits labor trafficking and most forms of sex trafficking through various trafficking-related provisions of its penal code. In addition, sex trafficking of Portuguese citizens across international borders is specifically prohibited. To bolster its efforts to combat trafficking, the government submitted to parliament reforms that will standardize the penal code as it relates to trafficking. The reforms explicitly criminalize labor trafficking, broaden the definition of sex trafficking, and increase penalties for both types of trafficking offenses. Current penalties prescribed by law for commercial sexual exploitation are commensurate with those for rape, and the laws generally prescribe penalties that are sufficiently stringent. However, sentences imposed on convicted offenders are often suspended. In 2006, a bar owner accused of sex trafficking was convicted for related crimes of pimping, aiding illegal immigration, kidnapping, and illegal possession of weapons. He was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment for recruiting and exploiting Brazilian women. There is no evidence of government officials complicit in trafficking.


The Government of Portugal expanded its efforts to provide protection assistance to victims of trafficking in 2006 and encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. Victims may file civil suits against their traffickers. Victims are allowed a 30 to 60 day reflection period to decide whether or not they will press charges against the traffickers and regardless of their decision, have the right to a one-year residency permit. Victims who are initially detained are transferred to shelter facilities and do not face penalties for unlawful acts committed as a direct part of their being trafficked. In the last year, Portugal opened the first government-funded and operated assistance center for trafficking victims and passed a new immigration law that facilitates issuance of residency permits to trafficking victims. The Government of Portugal provides funding and other in-kind forms of support to foreign and domestic NGOs providing victim services.


The Government of Portugal continued to sponsor anti-trafficking information campaigns and public service announcements throughout the year. The Government created a Web site with comprehensive information about trafficking, its National Action Plan, and links to NGOs providing victim assistance. State-run channels broadcast programs on trafficking to educate the general public, potential trafficking victims, and immigrants. The Government sponsored public service ads warning against trafficking on television, radio, and newspapers. Through the posting of liaison officers abroad, staffs of Portugal's overseas embassies and consulates are trained on how to protect and assist trafficking victims.

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