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

Spain (Tier 1)

Spain is a destination and transit country for women trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. These victims are trafficked from Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, South and Central America, and Africa. The most prominent source countries for these victims are Romania, Russia, Brazil, Colombia, and Nigeria. Spain continued to serve as a transit country for victims destined for Portugal, France, and Germany. Romanian trafficking networks continued to expand their operations in Spain.

The Government of Spain fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government aggressively investigated and prosecuted trafficking in 2005 securing 150 convictions. During the reporting period, Spanish law enforcement officials actively coordinated with counterparts in source countries to investigate and arrest traffickers. The government continued to provide trafficking victims with comprehensive assistance and protection. The cities of Madrid and Barcelona increased their demand reduction initiatives with an emphasis on the responsibility of the clients and the rights of the victims. The government should promote a multidisciplinary approach to trafficking by including NGOs and relevant agencies in each case. It should keep information on numbers of victims assisted and the types of assistance provided to victims.


In 2005, the Spanish National Police continued to aggressively investigate trafficking networks and reportedly dismantled 205 networks for sexual exploitation and arrested 910 traffickers. The government prosecuted 92 cases of trafficking, resulting in 150 convictions with an average sentence of 4.5 years. In 2005, the government continued to cooperate with law enforcement counterparts in countries of origin investigating 131 cases, arresting 280 traffickers, and dismantling 131 human trafficking networks. Commendably, the Spanish National Police drew a clear distinction between trafficking crimes and migrant smuggling. The government also continued to provide specialized training to all new law enforcement officers on both recognition of trafficking victims and victim assistance. There were no reports or evidence of public officials complicit in trafficking.


In 2005, the government increased its funding of NGOs providing comprehensive services to trafficking victims in Spain. During the reporting period, one NGO reported providing 95 victims of trafficking with legal, medical, and psychological assistance. The police reported identifying 1,337 victims of sexual exploitation and 681 victims of forced labor trafficking in 2005. The Spanish Government encourages trafficking victims to testify against their traffickers, and informs victims in writing of their right to seek legal action and restitution from traffickers. Trafficking victims who agree to testify in criminal cases are eligible for short-term legal residency in Spain; otherwise, they must be repatriated within 40 days. Although the government did not have a formal screening and referral mechanism, Spanish police continued to refer trafficking victims directly to NGOs providing shelter and assistance. The government did not punish victims for unlawful acts that were a direct result of their being trafficked.


Spain's Ministry of Interior continued to coordinate and evaluate the government's response to trafficking over the last year, and regional police units reviewed anti-trafficking enforcement efforts on a quarterly basis. In 2005, a parliamentary committee requested that the government draft a National Action Plan, expected to be completed in 2006. In 2005, the Madrid city government increased its enforcement of its anti-prostitution and anti-trafficking campaign through elevated police presence in targeted zones. In addition, the city of Madrid continued its extensive publicity campaign to prevent trafficking and discourage potential clients with posters and advertisements in the media and on city buses. In Catalonia, the Interior Minister continued to make anti-trafficking a priority and often accompanied police to areas with prostitution to assess conditions and discourage client solicitation.


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