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Actions Against Human Trafficking

The Icelandic government is preparing a plan on how to act on human trafficking. The plan will be ready in the fall.

Current Icelandic laws include no clauses on how to protect the victims of human trafficking. Those who have been sold to slavery cannot file for residence or work permits on the grounds of human trafficking. Morgunbladid reports.

The Icelandic police are also not equipment to deal with those circumstances. According to Hildur Jónsdóttir, a member of the task force which is creating the plan, there is a huge task to be done.

The police must be capable of recognizing human trafficking and make those involved in it stand trial. The welfare system must also be fit enough to receive the victims. The operation plan calls for co-operation between the police, the welfare system as well as health institutes and organizations that work for human rights.

The prototype of this strategy came from Norway where a similar plan was put into action in 2003. The size of human trafficking was unknown then, and it was even believed that human trafficking in Norway did not exist. That has proved to be wrong and since the plan was introduced in Norway, 204 possible victims of human trafficking have been discovered.

Birgitte Elfsen, program manager of the operation plan in Norway, says that since the problem existed in Norway it is more than possible that it could exist in Iceland as well. She believes that since the demand for prostitution and “escort services” is present in Iceland, so might human trafficking.

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