Prostitution in Cape Verde

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prostitution in Cape Verde is legal[1] and commonplace.[2][3] There are no prostitution laws on the islands except for those concerning trafficking and child prostitution.[4] UNAIDS estimate there are 1,400 prostitutes in Cape Verde,[5] and many were from Ghana and Senegal before being expelled by the police.[2][6] Some turn to prostitution through poverty.[7]

Sex tourism, including child sex tourism, is a major occurrence in Cape Verde, especially in Santa Maria and the tourist beach resorts on the Cape Verdian island of Sal.[2][3] The islands are also a destination for female sex tourism.[2][8]

Sex trafficking,[9] and child prostitution[7][9] are problems on the islands.

Sex trafficking[edit]

Cabe Verde is primarily a source country for children subjected to sex trafficking within the country and a destination for women in forced prostitution. Boys and girls, some of whom may be foreign nationals, are exploited in sex trafficking in Santa Maria, Praia, and Mindelo, sometimes through child sex tourism. Increasing numbers of West African women have been identified in forced prostitution, including on Boa Vista and Sal Islands and sometimes through sex tourism. Children living in impoverished neighbourhoods with little state presence are also at risk, especially for sex trafficking. West African migrants may transit the archipelago en route to situations of exploitation in Europe. Some adult migrants from China and ECOWAS countries may receive low wages, work without contracts, and have irregular status, rendering them vulnerable to sex trafficking.[9]

In 2016, the government increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, but gaps remained. The penal code appears to prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons. Article 271 criminalises slavery and prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties of six to 12 years' imprisonment. Article 271-A makes it a crime to use force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of sexual or labour exploitation and prescribes penalties of four to 10 years' imprisonment. When the victim is a minor, an undefined term which elsewhere in the criminal code is defined at 16, the penalty increases to six to 12 years' imprisonment. In addition to article 271-A, article 148 of the criminal code outlaws the promotion, encouragement, or facilitation of prostitution and sexual acts with minors younger than 16 years of age or persons suffering from mental incapacity with penalties of four to 10 years' imprisonment, or two to six years' imprisonment if the victim is between ages 16 and 18. Article 149 of the penal code punishes those who entice, transport, host, or receive children younger than 16 years of age or promote the conditions for sexual acts or prostitution in a foreign country with two to eight years' imprisonment.[9]

The United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons ranks Cape Verde as a 'Tier 2' country.[10]


  1. ^ "The Legal Status of Prostitution by Country". ChartsBin. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Sex tourism on the rise?". IRIN. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b Dret, Tud (19 January 2018). "Sex Tourism & Prostitution". Real Cape Verde. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Cabo Verde: Código Penal (aprovado pelo Decreto Legislativo N° 4/2003 de 18 de Novembro de 2003)". World Intellectual Property Organization (in Portuguese). 18 November 2003. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Sex workers: Population size estimate - Number, 2016". UNAIDS. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Ghanaians traveling to Cape Verde Islands and Senegal warned". Ghana Web. 21 September 2002. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Universal Periodic Review Cape Verde" (PDF). United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. September 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Cape Verde - A Paradise near the North Africa, wonderful and cheap". MissioneVacanze (in Italian). Archived from the original on 9 February 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d "Cabo Verde 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2018.Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ "Cabo Verde 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 29 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.