Below is a short summary of some of the key issues from the Committee on the Rights of the Child's 65th session concluding observations for Portugal’s initial report on the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OPSC). Read the full text, and you can find other documents related to the Committee's 65th session (including alternative reports submitted by NGOs and the Committee's concluding observations for other States reviewed in this session) on the Committee's 65th session page. Please note that these are not official UN summaries.
Implementation: The Committee welcomes strengthened protection against all forms of sexual exploitation but remains concerned that existing legislation does not address the sale of children which is similar to but not identical to trafficking. The Committee urges full incorporation of the protocol into the domestic legal system and that the sale of children for forced labour and transfer of organs for profit are explicitly prohibited.
Vulnerable children: The Committee is seriously concerned that austerity measures adopted since 2010 have deepened child poverty increasing the risk for the most vulnerable, such as Roma children, of being trafficked, sold, forced into labour or sexual exploited. The Committee notes with concern that a bill advocating a programme to eradicate child poverty was rejected by Parliament in February 2013. The Committee recommends that the urgent assessment of austerity measures on children’s rights and the adoption of social policies to address the root causes of offenses under the protocol.
Child trafficking: The Committee is concerned that the State party continues to be a destination, transit and source country for children subjected to trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour. The Committee recommends the adoption of domestic anti-trafficking policies focusing on root causes and the most vulnerable children while also strengthening international assistance in connection with investigations or criminal or extradition proceedings. The Committee is also deeply concerned that the highest numbers of reported crimes against children in the State party are ‘abductions’ and ‘kidnappings’ of children who may be sold or trafficked for labour or sexual exploitation.
Solicitation and pornography: The Committee recommends that the Criminal Code comply fully with the protocol, in order to ensure that the solicitation of children for sexual purposes and accessing child pornography by means of information and communication technology are criminalised. The Committee further recommends that legislation be amended to require internet and telephone service providers or banking services to report the detection of pornographic sites involving children and to provide information to law enforcement officials about distributors of child pornography and related content.
Victim’s rights: The Committee is concerned that current legislation stipulates that protection and assistance to victims of trafficking are conditional upon the victim’s agreement to cooperate with the courts or on the grounds of their personal situation. The Committee recommends that the law clearly establish the right of child victims to receive protection and assistance and make remedies available to child victims for violations of their rights, including compensation. The Committee further recommends increasing budget allocations to expand safe and appropriate accommodation and emergency shelters for the protection and security of child victims.
Rehabilitation: The Committee is seriously concerned that adequate and appropriate measures for the recovery and reintegration of child victims, including for victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour, have not been adopted. The Committee urges the development of programmes to provide medium and long-term support programmes, particularly rehabilitation and psychosocial services, and to take every necessary measure to facilitate, finance, and increase access to appropriate accommodation for child victims.