SPAIN — The findings of the study confirmed that victims of human trafficking continue to use Spain either as a final destination or as a transit country. A total of 1,687 victims of human trafficking were identified between 2017 and 2022. Although sexual exploitation remains the most common type of exploitation, it has been shown that human trafficking for the purpose of exploitative employment affects a growing number of people. The number of children identified as victims has changed little (79 from 2017 to 2022).
The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has urged the Spanish government to step up proactive investigations into human trafficking for the purpose of labor exploitation and to ensure victims have access to adequate compensation. While expressing its satisfaction with the progress made in the legal and policy framework, GRETA identifies several shortcomings that need to be addressed in a new report assessing Spain’s implementation of the Anti-Trafficking Convention adopted by the Council of Europe.
GRETA recognizes that some progress has been made, including the establishment of a national strategic plan to combat human trafficking and a national action plan to end forced labor in the United States in the years 2021-2023. These are just a few of the many examples of progress that have been made. GRETA also appreciates the changes brought to the process of applying for victim status by the Royal Decree-Law on Urgent Measures Related to the War in Ukraine, as well as the expanded protections provided by the Law on Comprehensive Protection of Children and Young Persons . These two laws are the direct result of the fighting in Ukraine.
With regard to trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labor exploitation, GRETA urges the authorities to ensure that labor inspectors have sufficient resources to carry out inspections, to review the legislative framework in order to detect any shortcomings likely to limit the prosecution and adjudication of cases, to address the risks of human trafficking in the agricultural sector, and to improve the detection of potential victims in this sector. Furthermore, GRETA calls on the authorities to provide adequate resources to labor inspectors to carry out inspections.