The government increased protection efforts. Authorities reported identifying 200 victims (115 of sex trafficking and 85 of labor trafficking), compared with 213 victims (155 of sex trafficking and 58 of labor trafficking) in 2017. Since the police could only identify victims who cooperated in criminal investigations and the government predominantly focused on sex trafficking, GRETA believed official victim statistics were underreported. Since 2013, the government has used a victim identification protocol developed with NGO input. Formal victim identification usually took place in the presence of an NGO that assumed care for the victim. The Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime provided victim identification training to national police and civil guard personnel working at ports of entry. In 2018, the government implemented victim identification protocols at the Madrid airport.
The government allocated €4 million ($4.59 million), compared to €2 million ($2.29 million) in 2017, plus an unspecified amount from regional governments, for NGOs providing victims with temporary shelter and access to legal, medical, and psychological services. Additionally, these NGOs received €2.3 million ($2.64 million) in funding from tax revenues. The government, through 26 victim service offices, referred victims to NGO care providers and directly provided free healthcare, legal assistance, social welfare benefits, and funds for repatriation to victims. There were specialized centers for child victims of crime and seven trafficking shelters—all NGO-run—to assist child victims. GRETA cited NGO reports that unaccompanied migrant children in Ceuta and Melilla were vulnerable to trafficking in immigration detention centers, with reported cases of children disappearing from these centers. Two multipurpose NGO-run shelters were available for adult male victims. The government, collaborating with NGOs, continued to bi-annually update and use a victim resource guide, available in 12 languages, which listed by region 44 centers providing in-house services and 143 centers that provided services without lodging, including social, psychological, medical, legal, training, housing, and job search tools. GRETA reported victim services were available in all regions except Castilla La Mancha, La Rioja, and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
The government continued to utilize a regional program that assigned NGO-supplied “social interlocutors” (usually survivors of trafficking themselves) to act as a liaison for victims during legal proceedings and court testimony. In 2018, the 54 social interlocutors received training from law enforcement officials, NGOs, unions, and business associations. In February 2019, a government academic institution and an NGO implemented a distance-learning course on mediation for victim service providers.
Prosecutors are required to seek victim compensation from defendants through civil action during all criminal proceedings unless the victim expressly waived that right. The crime victims statute provided victims with the right to state compensation, but authorities had not reported any cases of state compensation to date. Assets seized from convicted defendants supported a fund used to fight trafficking and assist victims. NGOs continued to report inconsistent application of victim protections by judges and called for legal reform to protect witnesses better, including permitting video testimony in all cases and increasing measures to protect the identity of expert witnesses from NGOs, whose testimony cannot be anonymous under current law. Foreign victims could request a renewable residence permit for up to five years based on their cooperation with law enforcement and could apply for permanent residency after that five-year period. Victims could also receive assistance to return to their country of origin. The government allowed non-EU victims to apply for reflection periods of 90 days, during which they could recover while deciding whether to assist law enforcement. A number of victims received this benefit during the reporting period. In both of its evaluations, GRETA expressed concern that reflection periods for non-EU citizens were contingent upon an application to the immigration police. Citizens of EU member states, however, were not limited to the 90-day reflection period and faced no deadline for claiming social services or cooperating with authorities.