Coercive, unfair or deceptive recruitment Corporate criminal liability Criminal liability Forced labour Human trafficking Slavery
This article provides the definition of human trafficking in the Spanish legislation and imposes a penalty of five to eight years of imprisonment for the commission of human trafficking crimes. An aggravated penalty of 6 to 12 years imprisonment shall be applied when the victim is put in serious danger, is a minor, or especially vulnerable due to illness or disability.
Under this definition, human trafficking refers to the process of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power, or by taking advantage of the vulnerability of the victim for the purpose of: a) forced work or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery or servitude or begging; b) sexual exploitation, including pornography; or c) extraction of their bodily organs.
In cases where a legal person is responsible for the offences under this article, the punishment to be imposed shall be a fine from three to five times the profit obtained.
The 2016 US TIP report noted that the Courts in Spain convicted 58 traffickers in 2015, 56 for sexual exploitation and two for labour exploitation. The Government of Spain has reported identifying 169 trafficking victims in 2015, of these 65 were reported victims of sex trafficking and 104 of labour trafficking.
Art. 177 bis – Trafficking in human beings
1. Whoever, using violence, intimidation or deceit, or abusing a situation of superiority or need, or the vulnerability of a national or alien victim, were to induce, transport, transfer, receive or house such a victim for any of the purposes described below, within Spain, from Spain, in transit or with destination therein, shall be convicted of human trafficking and punished with the penalty of five to eight years imprisonment:
a) Imposing on the victim forced work or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery or servitude or begging;
b) Sexual exploitation, including pornography; c) Extraction of their bodily organs.
2. Even when not resorting to any of the means listed in the preceding Section, the actions stated in the preceding Section shall be deemed human trafficking when perpetrated with minors for the purposes of exploitation.
3. The consent of a victim of human trafficking shall be irrelevant when any of the means stated in Section one of this Article has been resorted to.
4. A higher degree punishment than that foreseen in Section 1 of this Article shall be applied when:
a) The trafficking puts the victim in serious danger;
b) The victim is a minor;
c) The victim is especially vulnerable due to illness, disability or his situation.
Should more than one circumstance concur, the punishment shall be imposed in its upper half.
5. A punishment higher in one degree than that foreseen in Section 1 of this Article shall be imposed, and absolute barring from six to twelve years for those who perpetrate such acts availing themselves of their status as an authority due to being agent or public officer thereof . If any of the circumstances also foreseen in Section 4 of this Article should also concur, the penalties shall be imposed in the upper half.
6. A punishment higher in one degree than foreseen in Section 1 of this Article shall be imposed and special barring from profession, trade, industry or commerce for the time of the sentence, when the offender belongs to an organisation or assembly of more than two persons, even if transitory in nature, which perpetrates such activities. Should any of the circumstances foreseen in Section 4 of this Article concur, the penalties imposed shall be in the upper half. If the circumstance foreseen in Section 5 of this Article concurs, the penalties imposed shall be those stated the upper half thereof. In the case of the managers, directors or persons in charge of such organisations or assemblies, the upper half of the punishment shall be applied, which may raised to the one immediately above it in degree. In all cases, the punishment shall be raised to the one immediately above in degree if any of the circumstances foreseen in Section 4 or the circumstance foreseen in Section 5 of this Article concurs.
7. When, pursuant to the terms established in Article 31 bis, a legal person is responsible for the offences described in the Article, the punishment imposed thereon shall be a fine from three to five times the profit obtained. Pursuant to the rules established in Article 66 bis, the Judges and Courts of Law may also impose the penalties established in Sub- Sections b) to g) of Section 7 of Article 33.
8. Provocation, conspiracy and solicitation to commit the offence of trafficking in human beings shall be punished with the penalty lower by one or two degrees to that of the relevant offence.
9. In all cases, the penalties foreseen in this Article shall be imposed without prejudice to the relevant one, as appropriate, for the offence of Article 318 bis of this Code and other offences effectively committed, including those related to the relevant exploitation.
10. Sentences by foreign Judges or Courts of Law for offences of the same kind as those foreseen in this Article shall have the effect of recidivism, except if the criminal record has been cancelled or may be, pursuant to Spanish Law.
11. Without prejudice to application of the general rules of this Code, the victims of trafficking in human beings shall be exempt of punishment for the criminal offences that might have been committed while suffering exploitation, as long as participation therein has been a direct consequence of the situation of violence, intimidation, deceit or abuse to which they may have been subjected to and provided there is an adequate proportionality between that situation and the criminal act perpetrated.
Law / 23rd November 1995 / Spain / Spanish Criminal Code
The Spanish Criminal Code provides the criminal law framework in Spain, regulating the different crimes and offences, as well as the associated penalties. The Code criminalises human trafficking, as well as a number of serious offences against the rights of workers, including deceptive recruitment, imposing harmful working conditions on workers, or serious health and safety breaches endangering the health and lives of workers.
Since coming into force, the Criminal Code has been amended on several occassions. The Crime of human trafficking was only included in the Code, and therefore introduced to the Spanish criminal legislation in 2010, with Organic Law No. 4/2000. One of the last amendments, introduced by Organic Law No. 5/2010 of June 22, introduced the principle of criminal liability of legal entities. Previously, it was not possible to hold enterprises and other organisations criminally liable under Spanish legislation.