Ombudsman marks World Day against Trafficking in Persons

July 30 was elected by the United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Persons. According to this organization’s data, more than 225,000 victims of trafficking have been signaled since 2003: women, children and men, exploited for various purposes. The World Report on Trafficking in Persons notes that in recent years the number of victims has increased.

Virtually every country in the world is affected by this scourge, whether as countries of origin, transit or destination. Portugal is not immune. According to the Annual Internal Security Report, in 2018 51 cases of trafficking of Portuguese citizens abroad were flagged, 81 cases of foreign citizens in Portugal, and 18 cases where the country was used as a transit territory.
The phenomenon has evolved, and while at the beginning most of the victims in Portugal were women for the purpose of sexual exploitation, more recently several cases of trafficking of foreign men for labor exploitation have been detected, especially in agricultural and fishing activities. In the face of increasing migratory flows, the suspicions of trafficking of some foreign children arriving at our borders to enter other countries are still worrying.

The Ombudsman expresses concern at the evolution and diversification of this phenomenon, which is deeply detrimental to human dignity, and welcomes the daily efforts of the bodies involved in the investigation and dismantling of trafficking networks and the protection of victims.