The data are contained in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020 and, in the case of Portugal, reflect the years 2014 to 2018, during which 356 people were identified as victims of human trafficking.
The United Nations report compiles official Portuguese data and shows that during that period the male gender was dominant among the victims in these five years under analysis, especially in 2016, when 105 male victims of trafficking were identified.
In total, 221 men were identified between 2014 and 2018, and these data have been updated until July 2019.
In these years, 84 women victims were also registered, in addition to 33 girls, 14 boys and four other cases of minors whose gender was unknown.
In total, in these five years, Portugal has identified 356 victims of human trafficking.
Most of these people were trafficked into slave labour (268), almost half of them (123) in 2016 alone, and there were also four cases of illegal adoption in 2018, forced begging (7), or 33 cases where the victims were forced into prostitution.
Regarding citizenship and looking at 2018 alone, there were 35 Moldovan citizens who were victims of trafficking, besides 11 Portuguese and five Angolans.
"In 2018, 11 Portuguese citizens were repatriated from other countries identified as victims of human trafficking," the report said.
And if the male gender is the dominant among the victims, it is also among the presumed criminals, as 20 of the 27 people identified in 2018 were men. In the total of five years, 150 people were identified as suspected of this criminal activity.
These figures relate to 249 cases registered between these years, however, if in the case of trafficked persons there was an increase of 42.5 percent between 2017 and 2018, since there is an increase from 40 cases to 57, when looking at the number of persons arrested, identified or brought to justice, the trend is the opposite, with a decrease of 10 percent between the 30 persons registered in 2017 and the 27 the following year.
According to the report, in 2017 there were nine people accused of trafficking in human beings and eight people actually convicted, and the Portuguese authorities revealed that the majority of those convicted were Portuguese citizens.
Portugal is grouped in southern European countries, where this phenomenon has a different expression among the various countries, as the majority of the victims identified are women, although cases among men and young people are increasing.
In most cases, these people are trafficked for sexual exploitation and most of the traffickers are men.