Together Against Trafficking in Human Beings




Spain is for the most part a destination for victims, mainly from Eastern Europe (mainly Romania), Africa (mainly Nigeria), Asia (mainly China) and South America (mainly Paraguay), as well as for transit to other destinations, chiefly European countries such as France and the United Kingdom.

The modus operandi of the groups linked to this criminal activity is basically structured around three processes: recruitment, transfer and exploitation.



Victims have been captured in their countries of origin by advertisements in newspapers, on websites, in travel agencies, hiring agencies, places of prostitution, among others, most commonly by deception in the form of legitimate job opportunities mainly linked to the hospitality sector and domestic service, and using the figure of the “lover boy” (seducing victims and posing as partner then, subsequently, using any pretext to bring them to this country to be exploited, particularly Romanian women).

Some of the victims may understand and accept that they are being trapped to go into prostitution, the deception being in the conditions for the activity (the number of hours, number of clients or the remuneration they are supposedly to receive).

Likewise, the deception is also given form in the amount of the debt (from 3,000 euros upward) and the repayment procedure (more than 1 year), as the criminal groups usually finance victim’s travel expenses and the processing of their documents.

The recruiters usually belong to the criminal group specifically engaged in this work, and are the same nationality as the victims. Some cases have however been detected in which they are captured by family members, friends and even women who have already been exploited and who convince new victims to come to this country in the expectation of a better life.



Victims are transferred by land, air and sea, along previously established routes using a variety of means of transport (aircraft, bus, boat …) usually accompanied by a member of the group to the point of origin (airport, bus terminal …) then heading for their destination.

The countries of transit vary according to the victims’ origins. It can in general terms be said that:

▪ Those from South America generally reach this country by air via Brazil, with intermediate stopovers in Schengen space airports. For example, victims with Paraguayan nationality use countries that include Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands and France. Those originating in Eastern European countries generally arrive by land, through any central or southern European country, Romanian nationals using countries such as Hungary, Austria, Italy and France.

▪ Africans generally arrive by land and in boats (dinghies), Nigerians through the countries of the Sahel e.g. Niger, Mali or Burkina Faso, and the Maghreb, especially Morocco.

▪ And finally, Asians such as Chinese get to this country through the countries of the former Soviet Union, among others Lithuania and via Turkey, crossing through Greece.

In this phase of the process, the necessary documentation, sometimes falsified, is facilitated to the victims: passports, visas, hotel reservations, letters of invitation, transport tickets and the money needed to enter, generally for tourism or study.



In Spain, the victims are collected by group members and transferred to the places where they will be exploited, mostly in hostess clubs with rooms, and private homes, spread virtually throughout the country.

It is at this stage of the process that the victims are told of the true nature of the activity they are to carry on and the circumstances in which it will be done, and are if necessary forced into prostitution by threat, aggression or coercion. They are also informed of the amount of the debt and the payment terms contracted with the group, which are generally increased by abusive accommodation and maintenance charges, including financial penalties for failure to comply with their “occupational obligations”.

This pattern of action is true of these organised crime groups as a whole. It may however vary depending on the victims’ individual situations, the group’s area of action, the strictness of administrative, police or judicial measures in countries involved in the origin and transit, and the ethnic or cultural characteristics of the victims and those exploiting them.


1.2. Organised crime and human trafficking

Human trafficking is an activity which is linked worldwide to transnational organised crime, and in this Spain is no exception. However the trend observed in recent years is toward a larger number of women entrapped and exploited in Spain, in what is known as internal trafficking.

The figures for human trafficking and its connection with criminal groups and organisations in Spain remain similar in recent years.

A more detailed analysis follows of the situation of the Nigerian networks in Spain that are linked to organised crime in the field of trafficking for sexual exploitation, all because of the scale of these networks and the growth seen in recent years, from sixteen victims in 2014 to thirty-seven in 2016, and from twenty arrests in 2014 to forty-one in 2016.

Deception is the habitual procedure in the recruitment of victims: the recruiter offers the victim the possibility of relocating to Europe where they will be able to engage in profitable work. In agreeing to the bait, the victim undertakes to pay a huge sum of money (between €30,000 and €50,000) in the instalments provided for, once securing earnings from their work. Normally, the migratory agreement and commitment is sealed and secured with voodoo or juju rites. With such a ritual oath, the victim is thus obliged to obey the trafficker, pay the debt and not report the traffickers. Victims do to some degree understand that they are going to work as prostitutes, but not the abusive and burdensome conditions in which they will pursue their activity. In any case, they do not realise that it will be difficult for them to settle their debt by the deadline agreed because, once in Spain, this figure is continuously increased by having to pay their accommodation, maintenance and the fines imposed on them by the traffickers on any pretext. This is, in other words, a classic case of debt bondage.

When transferring the victims, the traffickers plan the route to be followed (depending on each victim’s circumstances), the cost of the trip and the documentation required for the travel and for getting through police controls. It is normal to use genuine travel documents and passports but with falsified data as a means for securing other types of documentation (visas and certificates) or else simply false documentation. Also, travel through certain transit countries involves bribing officials and border police.


1.3. Emerging trends

It appears clear in the current context that the three main nationalities of victims and those arrested in Spain, particularly in trafficking for sex, are Nigerian, Romanian and Chinese. In other areas – for work, begging, forced marriage and crime – the information is so recent that the routes used by the people and irregular immigration trafficking networks may have shifted toward the western Mediterranean in a search for less monitored arteries, which may mean an increase in victim numbers in Spain.

Thirdly, great care must be taken in the matter of applications for asylum or international protection, as it has been found that the human trafficking networks are being used increasingly to attempt to regularise the situation of the victims in this country.

Linked to the above, it must be remembered that nationals of countries where there is an internal situation of conflict may be captured by trafficking networks taking advantage of their particular vulnerability.

THB official data from Spanish Ministry of Interior: Official figures on THB-Ministry of Interior: 20132014, 2015 and 2016




2.1.1. Amendment of Organic Law 4/2000 on the Rights and Freedoms of Foreigners in Spain and their Social Integration (OL 2/2009, of 11 December and OL 10/2011, of 17 July), introducing Article 59 bis (subsequently amended by Organic Law 10/2011, of 17 July), establishes a specific status for undocumented migrants who are victims of trafficking in human beings, from the time it is determined that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting it, so that the victim is informed of the provisions under the said Article:

▪ A period for recovery and reflection of at least 90 days (awarded in accordance with the procedure laid down). This means for the victims:

◦ Sanctioning procedures shall not be initiated or, in the event that they have already been initiated, they shall be suspended for the duration of the identification process and the said period for recovery and reflection.

◦ Authorisation of temporary stay.

◦ The competent administrations shall ensure that victims have the necessary resources for subsistence and, if necessary, ensure their safety and protection.

◦ The assistance measures shall also cover children under age or with disabilities who are in Spain at the moment of identification, in relation with assisted return or with the authorisation of residence and, if applicable, work permit, if they are over 16 years of age, in exceptional circumstances.

◦ By way of exception, the safety and protection measures shall be further extended to cover people who are in Spain and have family ties with the victim or of any other kind, when it is attested that the situation of lack of protection in which they would be placed with regard to the alleged smugglers constitutes an insurmountable obstacle which prevents the victim from cooperating.

▪ Once the period for recovery and reflection is over, the competent public administrations shall conduct an assessment of the personal situation of the victim for the purpose of extending that period.

▪ Possibility to be exempted from administrative liability (arising from the irregular situation of the victim in the country) and proposal of authorisation of residence and work in exceptional circumstances:

◦ As a result of his/her cooperation for the purposes of investigation or of the criminal proceedings.

◦ In view of his/her personal situation.

In the processing of the authorisations referred to in the previous paragraph, the victim may be exempted from submitting those documents the obtaining of which would pose a risk for the said victim.

The victim will also be eligible for the assisted return if he or she declares his or her wish to return to his or her country.

▪ Provisions of Article 59 bis shall equally apply to foreign minors, always taking into account the age and maturity of the child and, in any case, the prevalence of the principle of the best interests of the child.

In addition to Article 59 bis, Organic Law 4/2000 of 11 January on the rights and freedoms of foreign nationals in Spain and their social integration, the 2009 reform introduced in Article 22.2 the right of victims to be given information in a language that they understand.


2.1.2. Approval of the Regulations of the Organic Law 4/2000 on the rights and freedoms of foreign nationals in Spain and their social integration by way of Royal Decree 557/2011 of 20 April, containing in Articles 140 to 146 the development of the provisions of Article 59 bis of the Aliens Act.

This regulation provides for the development of a Framework Protocol for the Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings1, containing the basis for the coordination and the action of the institutions and administrations with powers in relation to trafficking in human beings.

Royal Decree 557/2011 of 20 April, in its Sole Additional Provision, also extends the scope of application of the provisions of Article 140, relating to the Framework Protocol for the Protection of Victims of Trafficking, of all victims of trafficking, whether they are non-Community victims who are in a regular or in an irregular situation or nationals of a EU Member State.


2.1.3. Royal Decree-Law of 3/2013 of 22 February, which amends the rate structure in the field of the judicial administration and the free legal aid system: the right of victims of trafficking in human beings and other groups to free legal assistance is recognised, without the need to accredit that they have insufficient means to litigate, in the processes in which they have links, derive from or result from their condition of victims (amendment to Article 2 of Law 1/1996 of 10 January).


2.1.4. Law 42/2015 of 5 October, amending the Code of Civil Procedure, Law 1/2000 of 7 January, maintaining the recognition of the right of the victims of gender violence and of trafficking in human beings to free legal assistance, as well as that of his or her successors in the case of death of the victim, under the terms laid down in Royal Decree-Law 3/2013 of 22 February, which amends the rate structure in the field of the administration of justice and the free legal aid system and introduces a number of improvements as regards the recognition of this right.


Specifically, in the case of the victims of gender violence and of trafficking in human beings, it is established that:

▪ Free legal assistance shall include, among other benefits, free counselling and guidance services at the time immediately prior to the filing of a complaint or lawsuit.

▪ Bar associations shall have a permanent on-call duty for the provision of pre litigation advisory services and legal aid for the victims of such crimes.


2.1.5. Law 4/2015 of 17 April on the standing of the Victim of a Crime, is indeed a catalogue of the rights, both procedural and extra procedural, of all victims of crimes, which provides a legal and social response for the victims and their families, and it also envisages specific attention to the most vulnerable people, such as victims of trafficking in human beings and underage victims.

In particular, the needs for protection of the victims of trafficking in human beings shall be taken into account when conducting an individual assessment of the victims to determine their special protection needs and which measures should be taken. This translates into the access to specific protection needs aimed at avoiding secondary victimisation during the trial and pre-trial phases.


2.1.6. Royal Decree 1109/2015 of 11 December, implementing Law 4/2015 of 27 April on the standing of the Victim of a Crime and laying down provisions for the regulation of the Aid to Victims of Crime Offices, has been recently approved.


2.1.7. Organic Law 8/2015 of 22 July, on the reform of the system for the protection of children and adolescents, and Law 26/2015 of 28 July, on the reform of the system for the protection of children and adolescents, improve the attention and protection of the children of women victims of gender violence, as well as that of underage girls who are victims of other forms of violence against women. It must be stressed that, for the first time, the protection of children from all forms of violence, including trafficking in human beings, is provided for among the guiding principles for action by the public authorities with regard to minors.

Specifically, in relation to the improvement of the protection of child victims of trafficking in human beings:

▪ Include the right of foreign children who are in Spain to education, health care and to basic social services and welfare benefits, in the same conditions of Spanish children, stressing that public administrations shall ensure the rights of the most vulnerable groups, such as child victims of trafficking in human beings.

▪ Establish that, when it is not possible to determine the age of majority of a person, that person shall be deemed to be a minor and shall remain subject to the provisions of that Law, whilst his or her actual age is determined.

▪ It is envisaged that, to the effect that the corresponding public entity may take a child in charge by operation of law, that child is in a situation of helplessness, when he or she is identified as a victims of trafficking in human beings and there is a conflict of interest with both parents, legal guardians and guardians.

▪ Establish as a requirement for access to, and practice of the professions, services and activities that involve regular contact with children, not having been convicted of an offence relating to prostitution, sexual exploitation and corruption of children, among others, as well as of the offence of trafficking in human beings.

Moreover, these laws improve the protection that the Spanish law offers to the victims of trafficking in human beings, irrespective of age, through, on the one hand, the amendment of Article 59 bis of Organic Law 4/2000 on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration, establishing the minimum duration of the period for recovery and reflection in 90 days; and, on the other hand, the inclusion in Law 43/2006, of 29 December, for improved growth and employment of reductions in employer social security contributions for companies that hire victims of trafficking in human beings.


2.1.8. Prior to adoption of the Law on the on standing of the victim of a crime, the Spanish law recognised, on a general basis, a number of rights to the victims of crimes, and this regulation is also applicable to victims of trafficking in human beings.

The existing regulatory framework guaranteed victims only procedural rights or rights acknowledged to some very specific types of victims, according to its particular rules. Specifically, the following rights are guaranteed:

▪ Those contained in Articles 109 and 110 of the Criminal Procedure Code, i.e., right to appear as a party to the proceedings (make themselves known, be heard and have their views taken into account at all stages of the proceedings), provision of compensation for the damage suffered, and the possibility of adopting precautionary measures such as the banning for the alleged offender to approach or communicate with the victim or his or her family, under Article 544 bis.

▪ Those contained in Law 19/1994 of 23 December, on the protection of witnesses and experts in criminal cases, which are not automatically acquired but by a court judgement determining that the victim is in one of the situations provided for in the said Law; in the order granting them, it shall also be stated the scope or the specific level of protection for each victim, since the law contains three different levels:

◦ The right to not having his or her name, surname, address, place of work and profession, or any other data that might be used to identify them, included in the proceedings being carried on in his or her behalf. A number or any other key may be used to this effect.

◦ The right to appear for the purpose of any proceedings using whatever method to prevent his or her visual identification.

◦ The right to use for summons and notifications the address of the judicial body exercising jurisdiction, which shall send them confidentially to the recipient.

▪ Those contained in Law 35/1995 of 11 December, for the provision of aid and assistance to victims of violent crimes and crimes against sexual freedom. In particular, the access to a state aid scheme designed to benefit victims, both direct and indirect, of violent intentional crimes committed in Spain which result in death, serious bodily injuries, or significant damage to physical and mental health. The victims of crimes against sexual freedom, even when they were committed without using violence, shall also benefit from these rights.

▪ Those contained in Organic Law 1/2004 of 28 December, on Integrated Protection Measures against Gender Violence, when the trafficker is the spouse, former spouse, partner or former partner of the victim.



Penalisation of the crime of trafficking in human beings (Art. 177 bis Criminal Code) through Organic Law 5/2010 of 22 June, which adds a Title VII bis to the Criminal Code. For the first time, Article 177 bis identifies trafficking in human beings as a criminal offence and eliminates its regulation as an aggravating circumstance of the offence of smuggling of migrants of Article 318 bis. Article 177 bis provides the common agreed definition of trafficking at the international level (Palermo Protocol and Warsaw Convention). Furthermore, this reform modifies and reinforces other aspects of the Criminal Code such as the liability of the legal persons (Article 31 bis), the seizure of crime-related proceeds (Article 127 et seq.), offences related to forced prostitution, in particular, related to all forms of sexual exploitation of children.

Organic Law 1/2015, of 30 March, in force since 1 July 2015, amends once again the Criminal Code, on the one hand, to incorporate in Article 177 bis, among the facts constituting the offence of trafficking, the exchange or transfer of control over people; among the different forms of committing the crime, the delivery or receipt of payments or benefits to obtain the consent of the person controlling the victim; and, among the purposes, the exploitation, so that the victims commit criminal acts for the people who exploit them, and the celebration of forced marriages. The concept of vulnerability is also defined, in accordance with the European Directive.

Currently, pursuant to Article 177 bis of the Criminal Code, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, including Exchange or transfer of control over those persons, by means of violence, intimidation or deceit, or there is abuse of a situation of superiority or of need or vulnerability of a victim. Either national or foreign, or when there is delivery or receipt of payments or benefits to obtain the consent of the person controlling the victim, for any of the following purposes:

a) The imposition of forced labour or services, slavery or practises similar to slavery or servitude, or begging.

b) Sexual exploitation, including pornography.

c) Exploitation of criminal activities.

d) The removal of body organs.

e) The celebration of forced marriages.


A position of vulnerability occurs when the person concerned has no real or acceptable alternative, but to submit to the abuse involved.

The consent of a victim of trafficking in human beings shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in paragraph 1 of this article have been used.

When the behaviour refers to a person under age, it shall be considered a punishable trafficking offence even if none of the means set forth in paragraph 1 have been used.

Any natural person who is suspected to have been the object of the conduct set forth in the previous paragraphs, even if the exploitation has not occurred and regardless of the existence of a complaint lodged by the alleged victim, shall be considered a victim of trafficking in human beings.

A position of vulnerability occurs when the person concerned has no real or acceptable alternative, but to submit to the abuse involved. Minors are particularly vulnerable. Other factors to be taken into account to assess the vulnerability of the victims are “sex, gestational age, health condition and disability.”

In addition to the above, it is worth highlighting, with regard to the prosecution of the crime, the review of Organic Law 1/2015, of 30 March, in relation to the regulation of the confiscation of crime-related proceeds, instrumentalities and property. Article 127 bis increases the possibilities for confiscation to other situations of cases where there is often a criminal activity sustained over time, from which can result in substantial economic benefits, such as trafficking in human beings.

Link to Spanish legal framework



a. Protocols of action

▪ The Framework Protocol for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking, concluded in 2011 by the Ministries of Health, Social Services and Equality, the Interior, Justice, Employment and Social Security, the General State Prosecutor’s Office and the General Council of the Judiciary constitutes the National Referral Mechanism in the field of human trafficking. It also established for the first time the formal communication systems between the administrations with authority in the matter, and acknowledged the work of non-profit-making organisations specialised in the care of the victims.

Its application extends to human trafficking for any ends, irrespective of the victims’ sex, age, origin or administrative situation. This protocol has been the basis for the articulation of various regional protocols, until now four in number: in Catalonia (17 October 2013), Galicia (prior to the Protocol Framework and updated in March 2012 to adapt to that Protocol’s content), in Extremadura (29 June 2015), and in Navarra (approved by the Navarra Forum against trafficking of women for sexual exploitation on 2 December 2016).

Link to the regional Protocols

Moreover, various Autonomous Communities have indicated that they have begun to draft protocols to develop the Protocol Framework, and the Regional Government of Aragon has an urgent procedure for the detection and identification of a possible victim of trafficking for sex, to ensure that they are referred to specialised services.

Links to the Framework Protocol: Spanish version, English version, French version

- The Protocol Framework on certain actions in relation to Unaccompanied Foreign Minors (MENA): concluded on 22 July 2014 by the Ministers of Justice, Employment and Social Security, Health, Social Services and Equality, the General State Prosecutor, the Secretary of State for Security in the Ministry of the Interior and the Under-Secretariat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, it was published in the Official State Gazette on 16 October of the same year.

The Protocol is designed to establish the guidelines for coordinating the processes for identification, determination of age and referral to the public body for the protection of minors, and the proper functioning of the Register of Unaccompanied Foreign Minors (RMENA), focusing on guaranteeing the greater interest of the minor, and including among the questions regulated aspects related to the protection of possible underage foreign victims of trafficking.

Link to the MENA Protocol

- The Protocol for detection and action in possible cases of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, approved by the General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration (SGIE) in the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, addressed to professionals in migration centres attached to the SGIE and centres managed by NGOs it subsidises, to promote coordinated and homogeneous intervention by those professionals, to assist in the detection of possible victims of human trafficking, and referral to the right care and protection facilities.


b. Instruction 6/2016, of the State Secretariat for Security on the actions of the state law enforcements agencies in combatting human trafficking and on collaborating with organisations and bodies with accredited experience in care for victims.


On the basis of periodic meetings between the National Rapporteur and civil society organisations, it was decided to consider systematising their involvement, in collaboration with State Law Enforcement Agencies, in detecting and identifying the victims of human trafficking.

As a result, on 15 June 2016 the Secretary of State for Security issued Instruction 6/2016 to enhance cooperation with non-governmental organisations and members of civil society in fighting human trafficking. Thus the Ministry of the Interior has enabled the National Police and Guardia Civil to establish the figure of the Social Interlocutor in human trafficking, aimed not just to provide a new tool for preventing and fighting this type of crime, but also to bolster coordination of the actions of the State Law Enforcement Agencies with the bodies and social entities concerned with protecting persons who suffer from this execrable crime.

The State Secretariat’s Instruction provides for the creation of two sorts of Social Interlocutors in the Fight against human trafficking, one acting nationally and others operating at the territorial level. While the former have the specific missions for cooperation and coordination with the Territorial Social Interlocutors, the latter are responsible for the coordination, cooperation and implementation of actions related to crimes linked to human trafficking in their territorial sphere. Moreover, these experts are entrusted with maintaining permanent contacts with organisations and bodies with accredited experience in the care of victims of trafficking. The aims of these contacts is to promote collaboration, guarantee reciprocal exchange of information, trends and statistics, and to foster the coordination protocols that prove necessary in caring for victims, and specialised police backup in the field.

According to the Instruction, when a Social Interlocutor – or if applicable the units of the State Law Enforcement Agencies with the authority to identify the victim and then investigate the facts – is advised that the specialised bodies have detected a potential victim they will, using the quickest and most effective means, ask for the information those bodies have, and which will be taken into account in identifying the victim.

Likewise, whenever these specialised entities have relevant information on a potential victim, they will make it known to the State Law Enforcement Agencies through the channels established with the relevant Social Interlocutor, using the quickest and most effective means for that information to be assessed in identifying the victim and for other protective actions.

The Instruction sets out the procedures for detecting and identifying victims as provided for in the 28 October 2011 Framework Protocol for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking. Thus it indicates that, from the very moment at which it may be considered that there are reasonable indications to believe that someone is a victim of trafficking, the police units will take the necessary measures designed to guarantee the protection of their rights, medical and social assistance, and the necessary legal support.

It also provides for victims to be identified as provided for in the Spanish legislation, by police units with specific training in preventing and combatting trafficking, and in identifying and assisting them. The State Law Enforcement Agencies will nonetheless contact the specialised organisations to enable them, once a possible victim has been found, to participate in the early identification and subsequent identification interview, thereby creating a formal space for the involvement of civil society in processes to identify victims of human trafficking and ensure them greater protection and assistance.

To monitor and evaluate implementation of this Instruction, the National Rapporteur

deals periodically with the matter at meetings held with the Spanish Network to combat Human Trafficking. Similarly, meetings have been organised with the Social Interlocutors analysing the advances, difficulties and future challenges for the Instruction’s effective application.

Guardia Civil and National Police have issued their own internal rules for the correct implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the results of this Instruction.


c. Prevention and fight against trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation.


In the course of the work carried out by Labour and Social Security Inspection (Ministry of Employment and Social Security) in terms of irregular economy, some cases of potential crimes of trafficking in human beings can be identified. In general terms, these actions are conducted in coordination with the State Security Forces with joint visits to work centres (clandestine workshops, agricultural activities, etc.). The purpose of these joint actions is reaching higher effectiveness because the Labour Inspection only has the competence to identify potential cases of THB and, if it is ascertained that a crime is committed, the investigation would correspond to the State Security Forces.

The coordination of actions was reinforced after the adoption of the Collaboration Agreement between the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and the Ministry of the Interior on the coordination between Labour Inspection, Social Security and the State Security Forces, on 30 April 2013, having the fight against THB for labour exploitation as a specific objective.

Link to the Collaboration agreement


The Labour Inspection, after checking the aspects normally assigned to this body, can identify cases of THB for labour exploitation. These checks include in all cases monitoring the labour situation of workers, register in Social Security and authorization to work for foreign workers. They can also check labour aspects (wage, work hours, contracts, etc.), prevention of occupational risks, other Social Security matters (contributions, benefits, etc.) or employment matters, as foreseen in the Act 23/2015 On regulation of the Labour and Social Security Inspectorate System, and the Royal Decree 5/2000 of 4 August, approving the consolidated text of the Act on Infringements and Sanctions in the Social Order and the Organic Law 4/2000 of 11 January, on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration, in its development regulations.

Concerning employment agencies, the Labour Inspection will continue to check that these companies and the user companies abide by the administrative regulations (labour, Social Security, foreigners, prevention of occupational risks) according to the Act 23/2015 of 21 July, and Royal Decree 5/2000 of 4 August, approving the consolidated text of the Act on Infringements and Sanctions in the Social Order.




Comprehensive Plan to combat against trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation 2015-2018

- This is the integral and multidisciplinary instrument, specific to combatting trafficking for sexual exploitation, which sets out the authorities assigned to the various ministerial departments in the matter, the road map implementing actions to combat the trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation (trafficking for sexual exploitation only).

- It is based on diagnosis of the situation in the light of the data on the trafficking of women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation in Spain, beyond strictly police and judicial data on the investigation and prosecution of the crime.

- It deals with the matter from a multidisciplinary perspective taking in both prevention and prosecution of the offence as well as protection and care for victims, involving various players with responsibilities in the matter.

- A strategy based on seven pillars:

▪ Human rights approach.

▪ Gender approach.

▪ Primacy consideration of the minor’s best interest.

▪ Improving our understanding of the state of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

▪ The victims are the centre of the entire process.

▪ Prosecuting the crime.

▪ Comprehensive approach, cooperation and participation.


- 143 measures organised into 10 objectives in a structure divided into 5 priorities, based on the Priorities enshrined in the EU Strategy against human trafficking:

▪ Priority 1: detection and reinforcement of prevention of trafficking.

▪ Priority 2: identification, protection and assistance for victims of human trafficking.

▪ Priority 3: analysis and enhanced understanding, to respond effectively to trafficking for sexual exploitation.

▪ Priority 4: more active prosecution of traffickers.

▪ Priority 5: coordination and cooperation among institutions, and the participation of civil society.

Links to the Comprehensive Plan: Spanish version English version




The main programmes and actions refer to two fields, on the one hand that of the Government Delegation for Gender-based Violence (the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality) and on the other that of the General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration (the Employment and Social Security Ministry).

- The Government Delegation for Gender-based Violence (DGVG):

Specific offers for Subsidies for organisations specialised in caring for women victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation, endowed with 2,000,000 euros per annum.

Offers to NGOs for Personal Income Tax (IRPF) allocation for other purposes of social interest (the projects evaluated by the DGVG). So far, some 1,500,000 euros a year have been assigned to finance programmes to care for and protect women trafficked for sexual exploitation.

For example, in 2016, on the basis of these subsidies, 43 projects and 17 programmes were financed, figures similar to those from previous years.

The Government Delegation has an updated guide to resources for assisting victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation as an Annex to the Protocol Framework for the protection of the victims of human trafficking.

The information provided in the above mention guide is updated each six months.

Link to the updated version of the Guide.


From assistance programmes financed by the DGVG, the following figures have been obtained on care for women in prostitution:

- General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration (SGIE):

The Directorate-General of Migration (DGM), a governing body attached to the General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration, from time to time publishes offers of subsidies which are taken up by Non-Governmental bodies and Organisations to implement and manage projects addressing care for immigrants and/or those applying for or benefiting from international protection.

The following are the areas subsidised, involving specific activities in the field of human trafficking:

- Area of Immigrant Integration

- Area of International Protection and Asylum

- Area of Voluntary Immigrant Return


The projects subsidised for social entities in the years of reference in this report (2014-2016) in each of the areas mentioned were:

Immigrant Integration

- Programme of integral attention for women victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitationAdoratrices Esclavas del Santísimo Sacramento y de la Caridad (Adoratrices Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament and of Charity). Province of Spain.

This programme has a variety of resources offering accommodation and maintenance to victims, plus integral care (health, psychological, legal, social, etc.)


Residential reception for women in prostitution and/or victims of trafficking for sexual exploitationAmaranta Solidarity Fundation.

The resources in this programme offer accommodation and maintenance to victims, plus integral care, and has emergency and medium- and long-stay facilities.


Programme of care for women in prostitution and/or victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. Amaranta Solidarity Fundation.

This programme involves visits to clubs and apartments, individual attention and/or group sessions. Actions for support in social integration are also included.


Programme of Occupational Inclusion of women victims of trafficking for sexual exploitationAmaranta Solidarity Fundation.

The aim of this programme is to enhance the employability of women victims of trafficking, to facilitate their access to the job market with personalised plans.


The Futura Project. Association for prevention, reinsertion and attention to women forced into prostitution. (APRAMP)

Plans for jobs for women in prostitution and/or trafficking victims.

Promotion of actions and social support networks for women victims of sexual exploitation, and preparation for incorporation into socio-occupational plans. Apip-Acam Fundation.

A programme of information and advice for women in prostitution and/or trafficking victims, enabling them to embark on the creation of institutional and of social networks, to start job inclusion processes.


Lilith Programme: “Integral attention with mobile units for women in prostitution and/or victims of trafficking, or alleged victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation”The Association of Women in Conflict Zones (MZC).

The programme includes information on sexual and reproductive health, and actions designed to improve the psycho-social and legal situation of women. Attention provided in Mobile Units. It also includes awareness sessions and an activity for diagnosis of possible victims of trafficking on the border with Ceuta.


Socio-occupational attention for immigrant prostitutesAssociation, Committee for Support of Sex Workers (CATS).

This programme is designed to facilitate access to recourses through intervention and advice at both the social and family levels, and to enhance the employability of these women.


- International Protection and Asylum.

In this area, the programme on Social, legal and juridical assistance for women victims of human trafficking seeking asylum must be highlighted, run by Adoratrices Esclavas del Santísimo Sacramento and de la Caridad. Province of Spain.


- Voluntary immigrant return.

Trafficking victims subject to the regime provided for in Article 59 bis of the Aliens Act may freely choose to seek a residence and work permit for exceptional circumstances, or assisted return to their country of origin.

As part of DGM-SGIE offers for subsidies to implement voluntary return projects, there has since 2013 been a Protocol for action for the bodies responsible for projects processing returns to manage the voluntary return of human trafficking victims.

The following table shows the bodies that have managed the voluntary return of victims of immigrant trafficking, and the number of victims returned in the period of reference for this report (2014-2016):


For its part, in addition to managing DGM-SGIE subsidised voluntary return projects for non-Community immigrants, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) handles the return of Community victims of trafficking with its own funds and specific programmes to reintegrate victims of trafficking in priority European countries.

Irrespective of the financing source, the Returns Unit of the General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration (SGIE) controls all voluntary returns, as the authority assigned to refer consultations to the Office of the Commissioner General for Aliens and Borders, to confirm that those seeking voluntary return are not subject to any prohibition on departure from Spain pursuant to the aliens legislation. Moreover, bodies benefiting from the Directorate-General of Migration’s voluntary return programmes must seek authorisation from the SGIE prior to arranging the homeward travel of a trafficking victim, as provided for in the Protocol for action in managing the voluntary return of the victims of human trafficking.

The financial resources made available for the development and implementation of projects to combat trafficking in the period 2014-2016 originated in various financing lines such as the Fund for Asylum, Migration and Integration (FAMI), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Spanish State Budget. These financing lines have targeted mainly two types of action: direct intervention with the victims and the training of professionals.

The financial resources applied in the period 2014-2016 in combatting trafficking totalled €2,607,961.56, broken down as follows:


According to the General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration (SGIE) Protocol for Detection and Action in possible cases of human trafficking, the professionals involved are all those professionals and voluntary personnel directly or indirectly engaged with immigrants and/or with applicants for or beneficiaries of international protection or the stateless statute.

Thus the following are considered professionals involved in detecting evidence: lawyers, social workers, social/occupational mediators, psychologists, translators and interpreters, cleaning and kitchen staff, guards, orderlies, administration personnel, management and any other person engaged in professional or voluntary activity in a centre or unit offering attention to beneficiaries.

Data have been gathered more systematically since January 2016, including the following variables:

- Identification details (initials), sex, age, nationality and ID.

- Phases of intervention: detection, notification to the authorities, reception, legal assistance, social care, identification by State Law Enforcement Agencies and voluntary return.

- Observations.

Data are collected on the a priori understanding that there is a virtually insurmountable margin of error because, at the detection phase, possible victims do not usually have an ID number (National Alien ID) providing a filter for identifying a person in subs-equent interventions by other bodies and in different regions.

Examination of the statistical data on intervention in 2016 reveals the following concerning the number of cases of possible Victims of Human Trafficking (VHT) dealt with that year in centres and facilities where the Human Trafficking-SGIE Protocol applies:

- From all centres and facilities dealing with immigrants and those applying for or benefiting from international protection, whether public or run by NGOs, a total of 642 cases of possible human trafficking victims were found.

- Of these, 507 were for Sexual Exploitation (from the data available, 451 women and 31 men), 24 were for Labour Exploitation (13 women and 10 men) and 111 cases were for Other Purposes (according to the data available, all women).

- Administrative Status registered in cases of VHT: more than 32% of victims were in an irregular administrative situation.

- Nationality of VHT cases: five nationalities were most represented – Nigeria with 195 victims, Guinea with 159, Romania with 43, Democratic Republic of Congo with 40 and Cameroon with 24 victims.

- Types of Services and Assistance provided to VHT: the service most used by the victims was that for legal assistance, according to the data available, for 477 victims, followed by social attention from which, according to the data, 456 victims benefited, the reception service was used by 434 victims and finally 281 victims sought psychological assistance.


All this information is delivered every six months, as evaluation, to the National Rapporteur for human trafficking.

For personnel trained as part of the Directorate-General of Migration’s offer of subsidies to implement projects targeting immigrants who are nationals of other countries, there is a line of action co-financed by the European Social Fund for training and finishing of professionals and volunteers to better their skills in dealing with immigrants.

From 2014 and until the present, various courses, seminars and awareness actions have been organised, their main subject-matter being combatting human trafficking. These training activities are addressed equally to professionals from the beneficiary social institutions and to personnel from the Public Administrations with jurisdiction in the field of trafficking, as well as other players interested in the matter. The profile of speakers tends to be heterogeneous, ranging among others from specialised professionals from the social institutions to experts in the field, investigators, university teachers, State Law Enforcement Agency personnel, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Service for the Protection of Minors and staff from the Public Administrations with jurisdiction in the field.

The training requirements noted were covered by the following projects subsidised by the Directorate-General of Migration:

- Training courses on “Human trafficking for sexual exploitation” and “Methodologies for intervention with men, from the gender perspective”. Cepaim Fundation. Integral Action with Migrants.

This project was run in 2014 and 2015 and involved training encounters/seminars and exchanges with professionals both from the Cepaim Fundation and those belonging to other organisations interested in the subject, and directed to the immigrant population and/or the victims of trafficking. The preparation and distribution of specific publications was also promoted on trafficking, and teaching materials to prevent trafficking for sex, along with an exchange and identification of good practice among professionals.

- The NOVICOM Programme, “To promote understanding, awareness and the implementation of social support activities for women immigrants forced into prostitution, and the victims of trafficking for labour or sexual exploitation, and their children”. Association, Spanish Catholic Commission for Migration. 2014, 2015 and 2016.

- Course on “Detection and intervention with victims of trafficking”. Spanish Red Cross. 2014, 2015 and 2016. Training for all those involved in detecting Human Trafficking, to improve the processes for the detection and identification of victims of Human Trafficking, to be able to offer a more effective and flexible response adapted to the specific requirements of each victim and the minors accompanying them.

- Prevention, elimination, protection, reparation and assistance for victims of trafficking in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. Women in conflict zones. In 2015.


An investigation project to enhance understanding and knowledge of the trafficking of women, girls and children, to facilitate the adoption of measures for prevention, elimination, protection, reparation and assistance for victims.

The TSH-SGIE (Human Trafficking/General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration) Protocol highlights the role of the training of professionals, giving the professional of reference in trafficking at each migration centre or facility for immigrant care and/or those applying for and/or benefiting from international protection, the task of promoting actions to furnish knowledge and skills to all the personnel involved in dealing with this group.

Thus a variety of training activities has been implemented with the participation of personnel from the migration centres as well as staff from the General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration, including social workers from the Social Work Unit (UTS) operating in the Office for Asylum and Refuge in the Deputy Directorate-General for Asylum (Ministry of the Interior).

The following were the voluntary training activities addressed to the personnel:

- Course: “Prevention of Human Trafficking for sexual exploitation. Detection and care for victims”. 07/10/2014.

- Seminar: “Application of the Protocol for Detection and Action in possible cases of human trafficking for sexual exploitation”. 16/12/2014.

- Course: “Human trafficking. Detection of signs, and intervention in potential cases”. 25 and 26/05/2016.




At the operational level, both Guardia Civil and National Police have their own specific plans defining their action in the field of human trafficking.

In February 2015, the National Police Force presented the second phase of its Police Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, begun on 17 April 2013; and Guardia Civil has continued to develop the provisions in Directive 40/2009 to Combat Trafficking, dated 11 November 2009. Both instruments include among others the objectives of more active prosecution of criminal band members, prevention, protection of victims and greater international cooperation.



Here, the following training initiatives have stood out:

- Distribution in 2014 of printed copies of the Guidelines for detecting victims of human trafficking, and the practical tools for detection according to the different types of exploitation.

In all, 2,500 copies of this material are currently available to professionals in the public and private fields, and the Embassies of the countries with a greater number of nationals: Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, China, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Morocco, Peru, Poland, Romania and Russia. At the same time, the electronic version, in Spanish and other languages, is available on the website of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality at the following link: Directrices

- Periodic training in the Units for Coordination and for Violence against Women in the Government Delegations and Sub-delegations which, according to the Joint Instruction setting out the functions of jurisdiction for combatting trafficking for sexual exploitation, have responsibilities in the area of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

- At the training seminar attended by the Units held in Madrid in June 2015, the Government Delegation for Gender-based Violence included a working group dealing with the functions of the Units in the field of trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation. There were also two training seminars, held by videoconference in 2016, the second related to Instruction No. 6/2016 of the State Secretariat for Security, referred to previously.


In relation to awareness and reducing demand for human trafficking, there have since 2014 been a variety of initiatives:

- Commemorative acts coinciding with international Days:

- The International Day against Sexual Exploitation and the Trafficking of Women, Girls and Children (23 September).

- The EU Anti-trafficking Day (18 October).

On commemoration of the European Anti-Trafficking Day, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, through the Government Delegation on Gender-based Violence,

launched its first campaign against the trafficking of women for sex with the following hashtag:


Noteworthy in this campaign has been the dissemination of a message directed to society about the consequences of tolerance toward demand for sexual services not associated with trafficking for sexual exploitation, whose normalisation does not just prevent the identification of women as possible trafficking victims but also helps perpetuate their situation of enslavement, isolation and dependence on the networks exploiting them.

- World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30 July).

- Inclusion of the United Nations Blue Heart campaign’s image against human trafficking in Spanish National Organisation for the Blind (ONCE) and National Lottery coupons on various days associated with Human Rights.

- Information for professionals about innovations and advances in combatting the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation, with delivery of the weekly issue of the Newsletter “La DGVG Informa”, 18 of which were distributed with content on human trafficking from 2014 to 2016.

- Promotion of the itinerant nature of the exhibition “No seas Cómplice” (Don’t be Accomplice) of the Government Delegation for Gender-based Violence, in collaboration with the Institute for Women and Equal Opportunity, available to any public and private bodies wishing to join the task of raising awareness of this serious violation of women’s rights. In 2014, the exhibition was sent to the Aragon Women’s Institute (17 - 28 October) and the Extremadura Women’s Institute (3 - 27 June).

- Awareness of the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation in the school environment, in a joint Plan with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport through the Master Plan.

- The Association for Prevention, Rehabilitation and Attention for Women Forced into Prostitution carried out the following projects in 2014, 2015 and 2016:

Nadie se ofrece for ser esclav@ (No-one offers themselves for enslavement): anti-trafficking.

An awareness project for professionals to generate zero tolerance of trafficking.

Sociosalud (Socio-health): a mediation and training proposal.


An awareness project among healthcare professionals for correct detection of possible victims and preventive actions with women in prostitution and possible trafficking victims in the health field, from the Mobile Unit.

You can find more information in the dedicated website of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality: LINK




The Intelligence Centre against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO), in addition to the National Police and Guardia Civil, have been implementing a number of joint actions in combatting trafficking at both national and international levels, and it is present on the European Union’s Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) established as a basic component in the EU’s 2011/2017 Policy Cycle. In this field, Spain is involved in two projects within the EMPACT THB priority aiming to tackle Chinese and Nigerian THB and to improve collaboration with these countries.

Moreover, data exchange has been enhanced through the network of the Ministry of the Interior’s Councillors and Attachés, and with the Police Links of other countries and international bodies such as Europol and Interpol.

Likewise, all investigations into criminal groups linked to people trafficking go hand-in-hand with an investigation of the assets of those investigated, with a view to having their accounts and assets blocked, depriving criminals of the financial benefits generated by such activity.

The use of joint investigation teams is increasingly common among investigation groups specialised in prosecuting this criminal behaviour, mostly coordinated by Europol and implemented with other European Union police forces (France, Romania, Germany, Belgium ...) and less frequently with South American countries, mainly Paraguay.




Official figures on THB-Ministry of Interior: 20132014, 2015 and 2016

Trafficking in human beings in Spain: invisible victims. Spanish Ombudsperson.

Monitoring of the 2012 Report “Trafficking in human beings in Spain: invisible victims”. Spanish Ombudsperson. 2013

Monitoring reports on the Comprehensive Plan to combat trafficking for sexual exploitation 2009-12

First monitoring report on the Comprehensive Plan to fight against trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation 2015-18

Reports of the Specialized Prosecutor´s Office

Other reports and studies





National Rapporteur:


o Ana María Prejigueiro Rodríguez


National Rapporteur Office:

o Telephone number: +34 91 537 27 89

o Email: and


Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality - Government Delegation for Gender-based Violence (DGVG):

o Email:


Ministry of Employment and Social Security - General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration:

o Email:


Policia Nacional:

o 24 hours specialized helpline: 900105090

o Email:

o Twitter: #contralatrata

o Website:


Guardia Civil

o Emergency telephone number: 062

o Email:


Civil society organizations:

APRAMP: APRAMP is a non-profit organization that addresses the unmet needs of sexually exploited and trafficked women and girls, offering them holistic care and real opportunities for complete professional and social integration


To learn more about the organization, please check the following links:;;; a real story about how APRAMP helped and underage girl, victim of human trafficking: ISABELLA

The organization provides the following services:

o 24-hour emergency helpline: +34 609 589 479

o Email:

Proyecto Esperanza-Adoratrices: This project develops a comprehensive support program for women who are victims of human trafficking for the any purposes of exploitation - safe housing, psychological, medical, legal and social assistance to women who are victims of trafficking.

o 24-hour emergency helpline: +34 607 54 25 15

o Office: +34 91 386 06 43

o Email:

o Website:

SICAR cat-Adoratrices

o Postal address 23015 (08028-Barcelona)

o Tel. +34679654088 (24h) +34661861875

o Email:

o Website:


1 Signed by the ministers of Health, Social Services and Equal Opportunities, Interior, Justice, Employment and Social Security, the State Prosecutor´s office and the General Council of the Judiciary on 28 October 2011.