Wikileaks: US Embassy Reports on Slavery in Iceland Skip to content

Wikileaks: US Embassy Reports on Slavery in Iceland

wikileaks-logoSome Icelandic men who marry young foreign women treat them as slaves, even forcing them into prostitution, according to documents written at the US Embassy in Iceland in 2006, which have yet to be leaked by Wikileaks but has been granted access to.

According to, tormer Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason is accused by some of the embassy’s employees of having undermined the problem of possible human trafficking.

A Chinese woman who moved to Iceland to marry an Icelandic man had to work three jobs to provide for her husband who stopped working after the marriage, the documents state.

She only got four hours of sleep at night and in the end suffered a nervous breakdown. One of her coworkers assisted her in seeking legal consult and divorcing her husband.

The embassy quotes a lawyer from Althjódahús, the Intercultural Center in Reykjavík, saying that there are many examples of beautiful Eastern European women in their twenties who move to Iceland to marry men in their fifties who appear to consider their wives as some sort of trophies.

Many of these women work long hours but are deprived of their salaries by their husbands. Some husbands go as far as selling other men access to their wives’ bodies for sexual purposes.

The US Embassy appears to have been collecting data on possible human trafficking in Iceland and Wikileaks obtained a number of documents on the topic. The documents mentioned in this article date back to early 2006.

The documents also state that there appears to be little political will to tackle the potential problem, claiming the then Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason undermined the possibility that risk groups, such as foreign laborers and sex workers, are abused by their employers in Iceland.

The embassy’s conclusion seems to be that as there hadn’t been any court case on human trafficking in Iceland at the time it was possible that the problem was non-existent. However, it was also possible that Icelandic authorities were in denial.

It should be pointed out that since 2006 Icelandic authorities have acknowledged that human trafficking is a problem in Iceland—in March 2009 the government presented an extensive action plan against human trafficking.

One year later the first human trafficking conviction took place in Iceland.

Click here to read other Wikileaks stories.

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