Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 16:02 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Portugal

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Portugal, 5 June 2006, 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, Eastern Europe, and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Some victims are trafficked for forced labor. The majority of victims trafficked from Brazil are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

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. The Government of Portugal did not provide full statistical evidence of its law enforcement efforts, and it failed to prescribe punishment sufficiently stringent to deter trafficking in Portugal; virtually all convictions for trafficking resulted in suspended sentences in 2004. The Portuguese Government, through NGOs, provided trafficking victims with protection, support, and reintegration services. The government should aggressively prosecute trafficking cases and seek stronger penalties for traffickers that adequately reflect the heinous nature of the offense. The government should also consider additional focused and highly visible demand reduction campaigns aimed at consumers in Portugal.


The Government of Portugal made inadequate efforts to punish acts of trafficking in 2004, the latest period for which data was available. While the government prosecuted 45 traffickers during the reporting period, only two of 27 traffickers convicted served prison time; the remaining 25 received suspended sentences. The government reported that it actively dismantled trafficking networks in 2005, reducing their overall presence in Portugal. Increased law enforcement coordination led to well-targeted, smart anti-trafficking raids of commercial sexual exploitation sites that ensured the safety of all involved and provided post-rescue care for trafficking victims. During the reporting period, the government continued mandatory anti-trafficking training for its new immigration officers. The training includes a screening of "Lilya 4ever," a movie depicting a sex trafficking victim's ordeal, and presentation of methods of identifying trafficking victims among illegal migrants. In 2005, the Government of Portugal drafted legislation to increase penalties for traffickers and explicitly define trafficking as a crime. The government continued to cooperate with other European law enforcement agencies in trafficking investigations. In November 2005, it signed an agreement with Spanish police to strengthen border control, which includes a joint police team to address trafficking and smuggling. There were no reports of trafficking complicity among Portuguese public officials during the reporting period.


The Portuguese Government continued to provide adequate protection to victims of trafficking over the last year. This protection included subsidies for victims to receive shelter, employment, education, and access to medical services, including family reunification. One NGO reported housing and assisting 45 trafficking victims in 2005. The government provided legal residency to many trafficking victims, though most victims in Portugal are repatriated after a three-week stay at government-sponsored shelters. Although there is no national referral mechanism in place, some NGOs have signed memoranda of understanding with the government in order to track, assist, and reintegrate trafficking victims. Victims who are initially detained are later transferred to NGOs for protection and assistance. The government continued to operate 20 National Immigrant Support Centers throughout Portugal to provide immigrants, including trafficking victims, with multi-lingual information and assistance. In 2005, the government renewed funding for an NGO to provide shelter and assistance to trafficking victims and victims of other crimes.


The government continued to sponsor anti-trafficking information campaigns and public service announcements throughout the year. It aired various programs on state-run channels to educate and inform the general public, including potential trafficking victims and consumers. In 2005, the Portuguese Government developed and disseminated a national anti-trafficking action plan. The plan includes the establishment of a multi-disciplinary working group, which brings together all relevant stakeholders to more systematically address trafficking in Portugal. This effort also includes the establishment of a statistics-gathering unit within the Ministry of Interior, which should enable the government to more effectively monitor and adjust its approach to combating trafficking.

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