NATIONAL ANTI TRAFFICKING STRATEGY
In 2013, Portugal adopted its 3rd Action Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Human Beings (2014-2017).
The 3rd National Plan fits within the commitments accepted by Portugal before different international authorities, in particular within the framework of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries.
The 3rd National Action Plan has a total of 53 measures and it is focused on 5 main strategic areas:
- Prevention, Awareness-raising, Acknowledgement and Investigation;
- Education, Training and Qualification;
- Protection, Intervention and Capacity building;
- Criminal Investigation;
To know more on this and previous Plans as well as mid-terms and final evaluation reports, please go to http://www.cig.gov.pt/planos-nacionais-areas/trafico-de-seres-humanos
A National Coordinator was appointed in January 2008 under the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG) within the Minister of the Presidency and of Parliamentary Affairs.
The Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality is responsible for coordinating activities in the National Action Plan. It is supported by a Technical Commission, involving the Presidency and of Parliamentary Affairs and other competent ministries.
The National Coordinator has the following responsibilities:
- Draft the annual reports on the level of execution of the National Action Plan and report accordingly to the overseeing Government members;
- Follow up and supervise the execution of the National Action Plan and responsible entities regarding their level of execution;
- Promote research projects that may contribute towards a better understanding of the field of action;
- Provide information, when requested, on legislative measures concerning the fight against human trafficking and the protection of victims of trafficking;
- Develop an institutional contact network involving civil society, allowing for an individual follow-up of the known trafficking phenomena and the identification of their victims;
- Establish contact with foreign and international peer entities regarding human trafficking;
- Promote and participate in developing national and international information networks and structures;
- Ensure the final assessment of the Plan’s execution by an external entity.
A National Rapporteur was also nominated in January 2008, in accordance with the National Action Plan. The National Rapporteur also exercises the role of National Coordinator.
The National Rapporteur can propose new legislative measures for combating trafficking in human beings as well as measures to protect victims of trafficking. In addition to the National Rapporteur, the Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings (OTSH) is mandated to produce, collect, analyze and disseminate information on trafficking in persons and other kinds of gender violence.
In 2013 the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG) sign the Protocol that created the National Trafficking Victims Support and Protection Network (RAPVT). This network congregates both governmental and non-governmental organizations and aims to create a platform for the implementation of new forms of intervention, through the enhancement of agent’s skills, in order to promote a social reintegration of victims of trafficking.
In 2014, Portugal revised its Referral Mechanism and Monitoring System. This revision intends to consolidate the national approach based on an integrated and holistic model by articulating all different, but relevant actors, during all stages of intervention.
Assistance and support provided to victims
A number of government-funded non-governmental organisations provide assistance to trafficking victims. A temporary shelter was created specifically for women victims of trafficking and their minor children, called CAP in June 2008 following signature of a protocol between the main public institutions concerned (Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Interior, police forces, Social Security Institute, Prime Minister’s office) and the Family Planning Association (APF) which runs the shelter. All measures regarding protection, health care, legal assistance, translation and psychological support were undertaken by the shelter.
The Portuguese NGO UMAR (União de Mulheres Alternativa e Resposta) and the Border and Migration Service (SEF) have an informal partnership two years ago, with a view to providing emergency accommodation for women victims of trafficking.
In 2013, the NGO “Saúde em Português” created a Shelter for Men Victims of Trafficking and the Portuguese Association for Victim’s Support created the 2nd shelter for women victims of trafficking and their minor children
The government also works closely with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to ensure that victims return safely to their country of origin.
According to the Portuguese Immigration Law, victims of trafficking are granted a reflection period of a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 60 days. During this period the victim is accommodated in the state reception center and has to decide whether s/he wants to cooperate with the Portuguese authorities.
Residence permits are granted on a case by case basis for a period of one year, and are renewable under specific conditions.