chapter  20
Portugal
WithAlexandra Oliveira
Pages 13

Policies related to prostitution in Portugal have changed several times: from regulationism, to criminalization, and then to decriminalization. These changes reflect different political regimes, but also differences in health policies and sociocultural developments. Prostitution markets in Portugal have varied greatly since the 1980s, and are currently more diversified than in the past. Furthermore, sex workers are more heterogeneous and visible than in previous years. Presently, the main group of sex workers in Portugal is composed of migrants. However, in 1991 Portugal ratified the United Nations (UN) 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. In 2012, Ferreira analyzed the two main newspapers in Portugal, and concluded that although prostitution is not a crime, it appears in the written press as being strongly associated with criminality. The impact of current prostitution policies in Portugal is felt mainly by migrant sex workers, especially if they are immigrants in an irregular situation.