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Data Collection Meetings, Portugal

17 January 2012


Through interviews and questionnaires the project team gathered the following information in Portugal. The crime of trafficking in human beings is investigated by special police forces (Judiciary Police and the Border Police, called SEF – Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras). Those police forces receive special training to deal with trafficked victims and are responsible for searches and other kinds of intervention when there is a suspicious of trafficking. When the police identify a victim of trafficking during an active intervention, the first contact is usually satisfactory, since police officers are prepared to deal with them. 

Police officers have instructions to take the victims to the hospital if they need medical assistance and to provide information about their rights. The first contact with health staff is usually reasonable as well, since the victim of trafficking have the right to receive medical assistance by the public healthcare system.

Despite of the inexistence official data about the contact between victims of trafficking and the police or the health staff, we can only answer this question based on the report from our clients. 

The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) is a NGO that offers psychological, legal and social support to victims of all sorts of crime. Being so, our staff is trained to handle with high traumatized victims, such as victims of trafficking.

Both police authorities and health staff receive trainings in this area. There are currently awareness raising programs made by NGOs, financed by the government, aiming the training of health professionals on trafficking in human beings.

The government created a national plan with political measures destined to raise awareness and train different staffs about trafficking in human beings. The II National Plan Against Trafficking in Human Beings entered in force in 2011 and goes on until 2013.

The main gap in the interaction with the victim consists on their identification, since most situations are hidden, making it difficult for the authorities to support the victims. Another issue is that most victims are foreign and do not know the language and the support services available, making the intervention very hard.

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   With the support of the European Commission.