Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from one’s parents. All children born in the country, except children of diplomats and children whose parents’ country of origin gives them nationality, are registered as citizens. When a child does not acquire the parents’ nationality, the government may grant it.
Child Abuse: As of May 2016, either a parent or a parent’s partner killed five minors. In 2016 the NGO Foundation for Children and Youth at Risk received 468,754 telephone calls and emails reporting various forms of child abuse, an increase of 27 percent from 2015.
The Catalan regional government continued to be concerned about the poor conditions of shelters for unaccompanied foreign children in the region.
Early and Forced Marriage: The minimum age of marriage is 16 years for minors living on their own.
The law categorizes forced marriage as a crime punishable by from six months to three years and six months in prison. Forced marriage carries similar penalties as coercion.
As of July 31, Catalan police assisted four victims of forced marriage, one of whom was a minor.
In May a 19-year-old Moroccan woman from Vilanova sought protection. Authorities reported that the woman had travelled to her hometown in Morocco with her parents (both Spanish citizens) and was told she could not leave Morocco unless she agreed to marry a 33-year-old man. The woman was able to escape with her 16-year old sister and return to Barcelona. Authorities placed her parents under investigation for crimes of forced marriage and gender violence. A judge granted the woman a restraining order and issued a no-contact order against her parents.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law criminalizes the “abuse and sexual attack of minors” under the age of 13. The penalty for sexual abuse and assault of children under the age of 13 is imprisonment from two to 15 years, depending on the nature of the crime. Individuals who contact children under the age of 13 through the internet for the purpose of sexual exploitation face imprisonment of one to three years. Authorities enforced the law.
The minimum age for consensual sex in the country is 16. The law defines sexual acts committed against persons under age 16 as nonconsensual sexual abuse, and provides for sentences from two to 15 years in prison, depending on the circumstances.
Penalties for recruiting children or persons with disabilities into prostitution are imprisonment from one to five years. The penalty for subjecting children to prostitution is imprisonment from four to six years.
The commercial sexual exploitation of trafficked teenage girls remained a problem.
The law prohibits child pornography. The penal code criminalizes using a minor “to prepare any type of pornographic material” as well as producing, selling, distributing, displaying, or facilitating the production, sale, dissemination, or exhibition of “any type” of child pornography by “any means.” The penalty is one to five years’ imprisonment; if the child is under the age of 13, imprisonment is five to nine years. The law also penalizes knowingly possessing child pornography.
There is a registry for sex offenders to bar them from activities in which they could be in the presence of minors.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.