About 30 Romanian citizens, including at least one child, accepted an offer to leave the country yesterday and on Sunday. According to the police, they had come to Iceland on behalf of organized criminals and were forced to beg.
The Romanians had been spotted outside grocery stores in Reykjavík for the last few weeks where they played musical instruments, asking for money in return. These same musicians had been spotted begging on the streets of Copenhagen and Oslo, RÚV reports.
According to Jón H. B. Snorrason, deputy police chief in the capital region, the people lived under extremely poor conditions in Reykjavík.
“They slept in the public parks downtown […] and had no possibility to support themselves,” Snorrason said. “These people probably came here because their activities were being constricted in Copenhagen and Oslo.”
Snorrason said the police had been informed by the police in Norway and Denmark that these people may have been sent to the Nordic countries from organized criminals in Romania and forced to beg.
The Romanians did not have tickets or money to travel out of the country, so the Icelandic state covered the cost. Police said they had not been evicted, but offered to leave, which they accepted.
Romanian citizens can stay in Iceland for up to three months as tourists, but the police have the right to ask them to leave if they cannot prove that they can support themselves during their stay or that they intend to leave after three months.