What is the Legal Status of Prostitution in Portugal?
Prostitution in Portugal is legal but operating brothels and engaging in other forms of pimping are considered illegal. The Portuguese legal framework does not criminalize the act of selling sex by individuals, but it does prohibit organized activities related to prostitution, such as managing or profiting from someone else’s prostitution.
While the act of selling sex is not punishable by law, certain activities related to prostitution are considered criminal offenses. These include:
- Recruiting, inducing, or promoting the prostitution of another person
- Exploiting another person’s prostitution for financial gain
- Operating or maintaining a brothel or other establishment for the purpose of prostitution
- Using force, threats, or deception to coerce someone into prostitution
What are the Penalties and Enforcement Measures for Prostitution in Portugal?
Penalties for illegal activities related to prostitution in Portugal vary depending on the severity of the offense. Those found guilty of engaging in illegal activities related to prostitution may face:
- Community service
- Deportation (in the case of non-Portuguese citizens)
Law enforcement agencies in Portugal, such as the Polícia de Segurança Pública (PSP) and the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR), are responsible for enforcing the laws related to prostitution. They may carry out raids on brothels and other establishments suspected of facilitating prostitution and arrest individuals involved in illegal activities.
How is Prostitution Referred to Locally in Portugal?
In Portugal, prostitution is often referred to as prostituição (the Portuguese word for prostitution) or trabalho sexual (which translates to sex work). Sex workers may also be referred to as trabalhadoras do sexo (female sex workers) or trabalhadores do sexo (male sex workers).
What is the History of Prostitution in Portugal?
Prostitution has a long history in Portugal, dating back to the Middle Ages when it was regulated by the Catholic Church. In the 19th century, the government introduced a series of regulations to control prostitution, such as mandatory registration of sex workers and mandatory health checks. However, these measures were met with resistance from sex workers and civil society organizations, who argued that they violated the rights of sex workers and failed to address the root causes of prostitution, such as poverty and social exclusion.
In 1983, the Portuguese government decriminalized the act of selling sex, making Portugal one of the first countries in Europe to adopt such a policy. This decision was based on the belief that decriminalization would help to reduce the stigma associated with prostitution and facilitate access to social and health services for sex workers.
What Government Laws and Resources are in Place for Prostitution in Portugal?
The Portuguese government has implemented a number of laws and resources aimed at addressing the various issues related to prostitution, including:
- The Law No. 99/2001, which criminalizes trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation and establishes penalties for offenders
- The Law No. 60/2007, which amends the Penal Code to include new provisions on pimping and sexual exploitation
- The Law No. 29/2008, which establishes the National Commission for the Protection of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings and provides support and assistance to victims of trafficking
- The Law No. 23/2007, which regulates the entry, stay, and departure of foreigners in Portugal and includes provisions on the protection of victims of trafficking in human beings
Additionally, the government provides funding and support to various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and projects that work to address the needs of sex workers and combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation.