The Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR) has called on the Spanish government to recognise human trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation as a ground for international protection and to grant victims the right to seek asylum.
According to CEAR, despite the clear connection between human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and gender-based persecution, which is a recognised ground of persecution under Spain’s asylum legislation, Spanish authorities systematically refuse to accept asylum applications from women, who have suffered from sexual exploitation. Currently the protection granted to victims of human trafficking in Spain is conditional to their cooperation to uncover criminal networks. However, victims often fear retaliation against them and their families from criminals involved in trafficking rings, which makes it difficult for them to cooperate with the police.
For further information:
Gensen Report, Gender-related asylum claims in Europe: Comparative analysis of law, policies, and practice focusing on women in nice EU Member States, May 2012.
UNHCR Spain, Persecution as a ground for international protection (only available in Spanish).
Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, Council of Europe Treaty Series No. 197,16 May 2005.
UNHCR, Guidelines on International Protection: The Application of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees to Victims of Trafficking and Persons at Risk of Being Trafficked, HCR/GIP/06/07, 7 April 2006.
This article originally appeared in ECRE Weekly Bulletin 27 September 2013.
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