The US Department of State points out flaws in Portugal in combating forced labor, considering that prevention and inspection have inadequate resources, and also points out Portugal as a growing gateway for child trafficking in sub-Saharan routes.
In a report on human rights practices in Portugal, the US State Department considers that the country was effective in enforcing the law that prohibits all forms of forced labor, but underlines that the penalties for these crimes “are not proportional to those of other serious crimes “.
The report also mentions alerts from civil society to “the need to strengthen the monitoring and regulation of temporary work agencies”.
State resources dedicated to preventing forced labor, including inspections, as well as law enforcement “remain inadequate,” argues the report, adding that those convicted of crimes of this nature “often manage to avoid arrest, undermining enforcement efforts and protection for victims “, citing reports from non-governmental organizations and the media.
Based on data from the Observatory on Trafficking in Human Beings, victims of human trafficking of foreign nationality are exploited in the sectors of agriculture, construction and domestic service, while the Portuguese are mainly exploited in catering, agriculture and domestic service.
As for child labor, the report points out that it occurred in “very limited cases”, mainly related to the exploitation of Roma children in begging or coercion to commit crimes against property.
“Sub-Saharan trafficking networks increasingly use the country as a route to the Schengen area for the exploitation of children in sex trafficking or forced labor,” says the report.
The US State Department also considers that “violence against women, including domestic violence, remains a problem” in Portugal, recalling court sentences that mitigate penalties for aggressors based on moral judgments about the behavior of the victims.