Is Prostitution Legal in Portugal? [Updated: 2023]

Published Categorized as Portugal
Is Prostitution Legal in Portugal?

This post was most recently updated on January 6th, 2023

The natural act of prostitution is legal in Portugal, however, if it’s organized then it’s illegal. Organized prostitution is a way for a third party to profit from organizing and facilitating prostitution using others. Brothels, prostitution rings, or other forms of pimping are strictly prohibited in Portugal.

Nonetheless, there are a lot of unofficial brothels which are active and spread all over the country.

These kinds of organized prostitution establishments sometimes disguise as massage parlors, bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, and hotels. There are many other forms of prostitution too including escort services.

Selling sex is legal in Portugal, but it is illegal to rent an apartment to perform sexual activities as a sex worker. However, working on the streets is legal.

You can deal on the streets and bring the sex worker to your place, which is completely legal.

Article 170 (Lenocínio, Living off Immoral Earnings) of the Penal Code reads:

1 – Who, professionally or for profit, promotes, encourages, or facilitates the practice by another person of prostitution or sexual acts of relief shall be punished with imprisonment from 6 months to 5 years.

2 – If the agent uses violence, serious threat, deception, fraud, abuse of authority resulting from a hierarchical relationship of dependence, economic or work, or takes advantage of the mental incapacity of the victim or any other situation of particular vulnerability, they shall be punished with imprisonment of 1 to 8 years.

Where can you find prostitutes in Portugal?

Where can you find prostitutes in Portugal

In Portugal, prostitution occurs in various settings. Prostitution services’ contacts are easily found in many magazines, newspapers, and websites. You can also see them in the streets of red-light areas.

Street prostitution occurs mainly in the streets of Lisbon, Madeira, Porto, Faro, and Braganca.

You can find all sorts of genders working in those red-light areas. Most common are heterosexual males/females, gay, lesbian, and transgenders.

In 2005, the number of female sex workers in Portugal was estimated to be around 28,000. Out of which 50% of them were foreigners, especially from Brazil, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. You can also find a large share of Male prostitutes engaged in Prostitution in Portugal.

There is no mandatory HIV/STD testing, no mandatory registration, and sex work isn’t recognized as work in Portugal.

Related article: Is abortion legal in Portugal?

Always use proper protection while having sex with a prostitute in Portugal. As it’s not mandatory for HIV testing, you can never know if the sex worker is healthy or not.

Many people think there are only three STDs – syphilis, HIV, and gonorrhea. In fact, there are many other diseases that can be spread through sexual contact, including herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, vaginitis, and viral hepatitis.

Stay safe!

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