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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                            

Kingdom of Spain

Spain's mixed capitalist economy supports a GDP that on a per capita basis is approaching that of the largest West European economies.

After considerable success since the mid-1990s in reducing unemployment to a 2007 low of 8%, Spain suffered a major spike in unemployment in the last few months of 2008, finishing the year with an unemployment rate over 13%.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Spain

Spain is a transit and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor.   There has been an increase in the number of minors trafficked into Spain for forced begging. In smaller numbers, Chinese victims are trafficked to Spain, primarily for forced labor. A coalition of 20 NGOs in Spain estimates that there are at least 50,000 people in Spain who are victims of human trafficking. Particularly vulnerable to trafficking are migrants from Romania and Bulgaria and possibly unaccompanied migrant minors, though there is limited data available on the latter group. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Spain.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Ministry of Labor and Immigration
91 363 23 30
Country code: 34-



Spanish police rescue hostage boy

BBC News, 9 June 2006

[accessed 23 December 2010]

Spain has cracked a number of groups smuggling Nigerian women.  Two Nigerian women have been arrested in Spain accused of stealing a child and forcing his mother into prostitution to pay their ransom. The mother, also Nigerian, claims her son was snatched from her shortly after he was born four years ago. She said the women demanded 45,000 euros (£31,000) for his return and threatened her with "voodoo".

The Price of a Slave in Brazil

Bernardete Toneto, [originally in Portuguese in the newspaper Brasil de Fato], February 2004

[accessed 16 February 2015]

AN ANIMAL IN A ZOO - Before leaving Brazil, I suspected prostitution but I never imagined that I would be a prisoner, threatened day and night. At the house, we were slaves. I never got anything, not money, not clothes. I didn't have my documents so I couldn't leave. We were given very little food, and we had to stay up until 5 am every day, trying to get customers.

We couldn't even leave the house without being accompanied by "security." One of the girls was threatened with death after she left for a weekend. They thought she went looking for the Brazilian consulate. We never had routine medical exams, much less tests for AIDS.

I fled when I met a Brazilian customer to whom I told my story. It seems that he had contact with other groups because nine days after I told him my story he returned, gave me a false passport and a ticket back to Brazil.  I escaped, but even today I think of my friends there who are being held prisoners, like animals in a zoo.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Human trafficking ring that forced women to care for elderly busted in Spain

Melissa Leon, Fox News, 8 August 2019

[accessed 11 August 2019]

Spanish police have busted a Nicaraguan family for trafficking women into the country and forcing them to care for the elderly and ill.

The family had smuggled 50 women into Spain since 2016, took their passports, then forced them to care for the elderly in private homes and confiscated most of the money they made, Spain's Civil Guard said, the AFP reported Thursday.

"The criminal group dominated and controlled all of its victims with constant threats, intimidation, deceptions and coercion, warning them that their relatives in Nicaragua would suffer the consequences if they reported what was happening," police said in a press release Wednesday.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Spain

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 25 June 2021]


There were cases of employers subjecting migrant men and women to forced labor in domestic service, agriculture, construction, and the service industry. Unaccompanied children were particularly vulnerable to labor exploitation and labor trafficking through forced begging.


There were reports that criminals exploited children in child sex trafficking and forced prostitution as well as pornography. Police databases do not automatically register foreign children intercepted at the borders, making them vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking, including labor trafficking through forced begging and child sex trafficking and forced prostitution (see section 6, Children).

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 6 May 2020]


Residents generally have access to economic opportunity and protection from exploitative working conditions. Despite strong antitrafficking efforts by law enforcement agencies, however, migrant workers remain vulnerable to debt bondage, forced labor, and sexual exploitation.

Spain breaks up male-prostitute trafficking ring

The Telegraph, 31 August 2010

[accessed 25 February 2019]

A sex-trafficking ring that provided young men with Viagra, cocaine and other stimulant drugs after bringing them to Spain to work as prostitutes has been busted, authorities said on Tuesday.

The victims, men in their 20s and estimated to number between 60 and 80, were mainly recruited in northern Brazil and saddled with debts of up to €4,000 (£3,300) as the cost of bringing them to Spain.

Some were duped into thinking legitimate jobs awaited them as go-go dancers or models; others knew they would be working in the sex industry, but not that they had to be prepared for sex around the clock and would be moved from one province to another depending on demand for their services, Mr Nieto told a news conference.

The men had to give half their earnings to the gang, and pay for rent and food in the apartments where they worked.

"If the men complained or caused any kind of problem, the gang leaders would threaten them, even with death," the police statement said.

Spain Links Voodoo to Forced-Prostitution Case

Victoria Burnett, New York Times, Madrid, May 22, 2009

[accessed 24 December 2010]

The traffickers lured their victims with promises of a better life in Europe and took them to a voodoo priest before departure, the police said in a statement. The traffickers then smuggled them to Spain, where they told the victims they had to become prostitutes to repay a hefty debt for their journey or face the wrath of voodoo spirits.

Women were taken to a voodoo shrine and made to swear before a priest that they would never reveal the identities of the traffickers, he said. The priests took pieces of fingernails or hair from the women as part of the ritual.   “People here are very scared of the power of voodoo, so the traffickers tell the victims that if they do anything funny they will invoke voodoo,” Mr. Mojeed said in a telephone interview.

RIGHTS: Activists Demand that Spain Sign Convention Against Human Trafficking

Alicia Fraerman, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, MADRID, Feb 13, 2008

[accessed 24 December 2010]

[accessed 28 September 2016]

Gentiana Susaj, coordinator of the RED, said it is important for Spain to sign and ratify the Convention because it is one of the foremost European destination and transit countries for human trafficking. The victims are mainly women aged between 18 and 25 from Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Nigeria.  These women are recruited in their countries of origin and taken abroad by mafias who deceive or coerce them. They are usually promised jobs in Spain, and when they arrive, most find themselves locked up in brothels.

Police arrest 60 people in crackdown on human trafficking ring

[access date unavailable]

Police in southern Spain arrested 60 people Thursday in a crackdown on a human trafficking ring that forced an estimated 2,000 Russian women into prostitution, an official said.

Authorities raided five brothels and nine homes in the province of Almeria, arresting 13 people suspected of leading the ring.

Investigators believe the women were brought to Spain with fake documentation and kept under strict lockdown in the nightclubs where they were forced to work.

Spanish police arrest 7 for human-trafficking

Associated Press AP, Madrid, 7 April 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 11 September 2011]

The arrests took place in the northeastern Mediterranean coastal region of Costa Brava, where the gang allegedly smuggled in women, mostly from Russia, forcing them to work streetwalking or in roadside brothels, police said.  Police said the group employed two people based in St. Petersburg, Russia, who targeted women by offering jobs in Spain in exchange for Š2,000 (US$2,675).

Spanish, Bulgarian police dismantle alleged human trafficking ring

Associated Press AP, Sofia, October 17, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 11 September 2011]

The ring — allegedly led by 35-year-old Bulgarian, who was not identified by name — is suspected of organizing the smuggling of more than 500 women from eastern European countries into Spain, where police said the victims were treated as "sex slaves."  "The women's freedom of movement was restricted, and they were often subjected to violence," Petrov said, adding that they were forced to work as prostitutes.

Spanish general prosecutor: Human trafficking, main Romanian problem in Spain

Denisa Maruntoiu, 12 October 2006 -- Source:

[accessed 24 June 2013]

HUMAN TRAFFICKING MAIN ROMANIAN PROBLEM IN SPAIN - Spain's general prosecutor Candido Conde Pumpido stressed yesterday that the biggest problem the Spanish judicial authorities face when it comes to Romanians is the human trafficking.

Spanish police have broken up a gang of Romanian human traffickers

Siskind's Immigration Bulletin

[accessed 4 September 2014]

INTERNATIONAL ROUNDUP - Spanish police have broken up a gang of Romanian human traffickers who were faking identity documents and credit cards. Twenty-two people have been arrested, the majority of them Romanians.  The gang specialized in bringing Romanian women, often under-age girls, to Spain to force them into prostitution.

Spanish Police Arrest 14 in Crackdown on Immigrant Prostitution Ring

Associated Press AP, Madrid, 2005-06-06

[accessed 24 December 2010]

The group recruited hundreds of women coming mainly from Brazil. Gang members arranged passports and air tickets to Spain, where the women were persuaded and forced to work illegally as prostitutes in clubs in the southern regions of Andalusia and Extremadura and then to hand over their earnings, a police statement said.

FG Smashes Human Trafficking Syndicate

Kingsley Newzeh & Iyefu Adoba, This Day, Abuja, 25 January 2005

[accessed 24 June 2013]

[accessed 6 May 2020]

According to Babandede, the parcel contained shocking pornographic photographs of Nigerian girls based in Spain, agreement of debt bondage to their "madams," Spanish immigration documents, pubic hairs, menstrual discharge pads and payment records.

The Protection Project – Spain [PDF]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 24 February 2016]

A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

ECPAT Spain launches a new campaign against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)

Madrid (Spain), June 2nd, 2004 – ECPAT Spain Consortium, Secretary of Communication

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 11 September 2011]

The campaign’s main goal is the prevention of CSEC by raising the awareness of people travelling from Spain to tourist destinations known to offer the opportunity to engage in sexual relationships with minors.

Dying to Leave - Human Trafficking Worldwide: Morocco

Thirteen, New York Public Media, September 25th, 2003

[accessed 24 December 2010]

[accessed 18 February 2018]

COUNTER-TRAFFICKING EFFORTS - In 2001, tensions between Spain and Morocco increased as government officials on each side blamed the other country for smuggling and trafficking problems in the region. Spain accused Morocco of not doing enough to limit the illegal activities, while Morocco claimed that Spanish mafia gangs were responsible for the increase in the number of illegal immigrants who tried to enter Spain by boat from Morocco. These days Spain has set up a network of sensors and cameras along the coast to intercept illegal migrants.

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 7 June 2002

[accessed 24 December 2010]

[8] In line with its previous recommendation (ibid., para.20), the Committee welcomes the improvement of safeguards in the cases of inter-country adoption contained in Act 1/1996 and the ratification of the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Inter-country Adoption.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 24 December 2010]


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Methods used by traffickers to maintain control of their victims included physical abuse, forced use of drugs, withholding of travel documents, and threats to the victim's family. Women from Eastern Europe reportedly were subject to more severe violence and threats by traffickers.

Traffickers lured some victims from other regions with false promises of employment in service industries and agriculture but then forced them into prostitution upon their arrival in the country. The media reported that criminal networks often lured their victims by using travel agencies and newspaper advertisements in their home countries that promised guaranteed employment in Spain. Typically in the case of Romanian organized networks, women were forced into prostitution where 90 percent of their earnings were marked for the criminal network; men were often employed in low-paying construction jobs. Clandestine clothing production and sales as well as work in restaurants were typical employment for illegal Asian immigrants, who came to the country with false documents through trafficking networks.

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