Secondary victimization: Immigration and Border Services (SEF)

Regarding Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) cases, secondary victimization can occur by either attitude or action of the authorities that intervene in the process. Signs of doubt about the narrative of the victims, devaluating the facts referred by them or showing lack of attention and understanding about the traumas they have suffered, can make the victims feel abandoned, which in turn increases their unease, insecurity and results in secondary victimization.

To prevent this type of occurrence, the Portuguese Immigration and Border Services (SEF) follows good practices as defined in the «Manual to fight human trafficking for criminal justice system professionals», drawn up by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Essentially SEF aims to: create empathy with the victims; hearing them in a suitable environment; searching the most adequate protective measures considering the risks at stake; avoid talking about aspects of his or her intimate; avoid successive testimonies and the resulting repetition of the traumatic history.

The SEF includes these references in the training programs particularly designed for the Inspectors who perform border control, which are scheduled to be provided in 2015.


Last review: October 2017.