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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08REYKJAVIK36 2008-03-07 12:12 2011-01-13 05:05 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Reykjavik
DE RUEHRK #0036/01 0671222
O 071222Z MAR 08
E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF:  08 STATE 2731 
1. (SBU) Embassy point of contact on the trafficking in persons 
(TIP) issue is Political Officer Brad Evans, tel. 
+354-562-9100x2294, fax +354-562-9139, unclassified e-mail 
Hours spent on preparation: 
- Pol Officer (FS 02) 12 hrs 
- Pol Assistant  50 hrs 
- DCM (FE-OC)    1 hrs 
Total:    63 hrs 
The following questions and answers correspond to the format 
provided reftel. 
2. (SBU) Overview of a country's activities to eliminate 
trafficking in persons: 
-- A. Is the country a country of origin, transit, and/or 
destination for internationally trafficked men, women, or children? 
Provide, where possible, numbers or estimates for each group; how 
they were trafficked, to where, and for what purpose.  Does the 
trafficking occur within the country's borders?  Does it occur in 
territory outside of the government's control (e.g. in a civil war 
situation)?  Are any estimates or reliable numbers available as to 
the extent or magnitude of the problem?  What is (are) the source(s) 
of available information on trafficking in persons or what plans are 
in place (if any) to undertake documentation of trafficking?  How 
reliable are the numbers and these sources?  Are certain groups of 
persons more at risk of being trafficked (e.g. women and children, 
boys versus girls, certain ethnic groups, refugees, etc.)? 
There were no confirmed cases of trafficking in the reporting 
period. There were a handful of alleged victims. There were isolated 
cases of destination. Putative cases include mainly underpaid and/or 
mistreated workers in nightclubs and massage parlors, but possibly 
undocumented Eastern European workers in construction and 
manufacturing as well. There was no evidence of trafficking in 
The only information available on TIP is anecdotal in nature, though 
government officials' and NGOs' accounts of the problem are largely 
consistent.  Post's sources - especially NGOs - maintain that they 
have seen several concrete examples of trafficking.  At an informal 
meeting of government and non-governmental institutions in January 
2008, the attendees said that each of them had come into contact 
with 6-20 trafficking victims over the last four years. While all 
believed that most of the examples overlapped, no distinction was 
made as to what kind of trafficking victims they were.   The meeting 
included representatives from three NGOs (the Icelandic Counseling 
and Information Center for Survivors of Sexual Violence (Stigamot) 
and the Women's Shelter) and four government agencies (the police, 
the state prosecutor's office and the Reykjavik municipal social 
Post considers this to be a credible estimate of the scope of the 
problem, though we are concerned over the lack of a formal, 
comprehensive study of TIP in Iceland.  Even the harshest critics of 
government policy concede that there are likely only a handful of 
victims each year. 
In a media interview in August 2007, the chief of the Sexual 
Violence Department of the Metropolitan Police stated that at least 
five foreign prostitutes had come to Iceland through foreign escort 
services in 2007. They were of Portuguese, Brazilian, and Eastern 
European origin. 
Undocumented foreign workers - mostly Baltic and Eastern European - 
in Iceland's construction sector may be exploited, but most sources 
opine that these are cases of immigrant and employment law 
violations rather than trafficking in persons. Most sources stress 
that the men willingly work illegally, and live in sub-standard 
housing, in Iceland in order to make up to four times the normal 
income in their home countries. Press accounts of such cases have 
drastically decreased during the reporting period compared to the 
previous year; post's contacts in the government confirm this 
Legal measures to clamp down on the number and operations of strip 
clubs in the Reykjavik Metropolitan Area -- the predominant loci of 
REYKJAVIK 00000036  002 OF 007 
TIP cases, according to post sources -- have been somewhat 
successful. NGO representatives and police say that rumors continue 
to circulate regarding prostitution and illegal nude shows and lap 
dances in the handful of the remaining establishments. 
-- B. Please provide a general overview of the trafficking situation 
in the country and any changes since the last TIP Report (e.g. 
changes in direction).  (Other items to address may include: What 
kind of conditions are the victims trafficked into?  Which 
populations are targeted by the traffickers?  Who are the 
traffickers/exploiters?  Are they independent business people? 
Small or family-based crime groups?  Large international organized 
crime syndicates?  What methods are used to approach victims?  (Are 
they offered lucrative jobs, sold by their families, approached by 
friends of friends, etc.?)  What methods are used to move the 
victims (e.g., are false documents being used?).  Are employment, 
travel, and tourism agencies or marriage brokers involved with or 
fronting for traffickers or crime groups to traffic individuals? 
As in previous years, suspected trafficking cases are spoken of 
anecdotally rather than as part of a broader trend of confirmed 
cases. Tougher local regulations and laws have contributed to making 
the operations of strip clubs in Iceland a difficult task. Media 
reports of undocumented foreign workers living in less-than-optimal 
living conditions declined considerably during the reporting period, 
in contrast to recent years. Successful measures by the Directorate 
of Labor and Icelandic unions to have employers properly document 
the workers may have played a part in reducing the problem, though 
government sources are reluctant to claim full success on the 
problem. There are indications that the inflow of Eastern European 
and Baltic citizens who have been coming to Iceland in search of 
employment is decreasing, due to better job prospects in their home 
countries.  This would reduce the risk of labor trafficking to 
Iceland from these countries. 
Political will: There appears to be political will at the highest 
levels of government to combat trafficking in persons. Municipal 
councils have, through regulation, effectively put numerous strip 
clubs out of business, and severely hampered the operations of the 
remaining ones.  During the reporting period, the government's prior 
focus on the judicial and law enforcement aspects of TIP moved 
towards victim protection and assistance. 
The Ministry of Justice is currently preparing legislation for 
Iceland's ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Action 
against TIP and the Palermo Protocol (see 5F), and continues to keep 
tabs on the problem in the broader scheme of efforts to deal with 
the threat of transnational crime. The Minister of Social Affairs 
requested in the fall of 2007 that the ministry become the lead 
agency on TIP. The minister was also quick to announce that an 
action plan to address trafficking in persons (see 5F) would be 
drafted by the end of April 2008. The Ministry of Justice designated 
its Head of Legal Affairs as the primary government point of contact 
on TIP issues in 2006, but since the Ministry of Social Affairs is 
now the lead agency of TIP, this position has become somewhat of an 
-- C. Which government agencies are involved in anti-trafficking 
efforts and which agency, if any, has the lead? 
The following agencies are involved in anti-trafficking efforts: 
-- Ministry of Social Affairs (including the Equal Rights Office and 
Directorate of Labor): lead agency. 
-- Ministry of Justice (including the Directorate of Immigration, 
State Prosecutor's Office, and National Commissioner of Police and 
local police forces. 
-- Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 
-- D. What are the limitations on the government's ability to 
address this problem in practice?  For example, is funding for 
police or other institutions inadequate?  Is overall corruption a 
problem?  Does the government lack the resources to aid victims? 
Iceland is consistently ranked in independent surveys as one of the 
world's least corrupt societies.  Funding for police and other 
institutions that are on the TIP front lines is adequate for a 
reactive approach but inadequate to fund active measures to prevent 
potential new cases. The January 2007 launch of an intelligence and 
analytical unit within the office of the National Police 
Commissioner, intended to strengthen proactive measures to combat 
international organized crime, has improved National Police and 
Ministry of Justice awareness of organized crime problems.  However, 
REYKJAVIK 00000036  003 OF 007 
some local police commissioners have noted to post that they have 
seen little direct benefit from the intelligence and analytical 
unit, and that cooperation between national and local levels on TIP 
and other organized crime issues could be improved greatly. 
Programs to provide emergency shelter and crime victim compensation, 
which in theory could be used to help TIP victims, have rarely been 
tested in the trafficking context. 
An NGO representative stated that Icelandic police do not question 
possible TIP victims - such as foreign prostitutes purportedly 
employed by a third party - to find out if they are trafficking 
victims, but instead quickly deport them on other grounds.  Post 
considers this source reliable but has been unable to corroborate 
this claim. 
-- E. To what extent does the government systematically monitor its 
anti-trafficking efforts (on all fronts -- prosecution, victim 
protection, and prevention) and periodically make available, 
publicly or privately and directly or through regional/international 
organizations, its assessments of these anti-trafficking efforts? 
There is no systematic government monitoring of anti-trafficking 
efforts as such - i.e., none beyond ordinary recordkeeping as to 
laws proposed and passed.  Primary responsibility for 
anti-trafficking work currently lies with the Ministry of Social 
Affairs, which oversees victim protection and assistance. 
Post expects that the national anti-TIP action plan currently being 
drafted (see 5F) will include measures to systematically monitor 
government anti-TIP efforts. 
-- A. Does the country have a law specifically prohibiting 
trafficking in persons--both for sexual and non-sexual purposes 
(e.g. forced labor)?  If so, please specifically cite the name of 
the law and its date of enactment and provide the exact language of 
the law prohibiting TIP and all other law(s) used to prosecute TIP 
cases.  Does the law(s) cover both internal and external 
(transnational) forms of trafficking?  If not, under what other laws 
can traffickers be prosecuted?  For example, are there laws against 
slavery or the exploitation of prostitution by means of force, fraud 
or coercion?  Are these other laws being used in trafficking cases? 
Please provide a full inventory of trafficking laws, including 
non-criminal statutes that allow for civil penalties against alleged 
trafficking crimes, (e.g., civil forfeiture laws and laws against 
illegal debt). 
Passed into law March 10, 2003, Article 227a of Iceland's General 
Penal Code outlaws trafficking in persons.  The law states: 
Anyone becoming guilty of the following acts for the purpose of 
sexually using a person or for forced labor or to remove his/her 
organs shall be punished for slavery with up to 8 years 
1. Procuring, removing, housing or accepting someone who has been 
subjected to unlawful force under Art. 225 or deprived of freedom as 
per Art. 226 or threat as per Art. 233 or unlawful deception by 
awakening, strengthening or utilizing his/her lack of understanding 
of the person concerned about circumstances or other inappropriate 
2. Procuring, removing, housing or accepting an individual younger 
than 18 years of age or rendering payment or other gain in order to 
acquire the approval of those having the care of a child. 
The same penalty shall be applied to a person accepting payment or 
other gain according to clause 2, para. 1. 
The government has not yet brought any prosecutions under Article 
227a, choosing instead to use General Penal Code Articles 57 and 
155, which outlaw alien smuggling and document forgery, 
-- B. What are the prescribed penalties for trafficking people for 
sexual exploitation?  What penalties were imposed for persons 
convicted of sexual exploitation over the reporting period?  Please 
note the number of convicted sex traffickers who received suspended 
sentences and the number who received only a fine as punishment. 
Trafficking of persons for sexual exploitation is punishable by up 
to eight years in prison. 
-- C. Punishment of Labor Trafficking Offenses: What are the 
REYKJAVIK 00000036  004 OF 007 
prescribed and imposed penalties for trafficking for labor 
exploitation, such as forced or bonded labor and involuntary 
servitude?  Do the government's laws provide for criminal punishment 
-- i.e. jail time -- for labor recruiters in labor source countries 
who engage in recruitment of laborers using knowingly fraudulent or 
deceptive offers that result in workers being trafficked in the 
destination country?  Are there laws in destination countries 
punishing employers or labor agents in labor destination countries 
who confiscate workers' passports or travel documents, switch 
contracts without the worker's consent as a means to keep the worker 
in a state of service, or withhold payment of salaries as means of 
keeping the worker in a state of service?  If law(s) prescribe 
criminal punishments for these offenses, what are the actual 
punishments imposed on persons convicted of these offenses?  Please 
note the number of convicted labor traffickers who received 
suspended sentences and the number who received only a fine as 
Trafficking of persons for forced labor is punishable by up to eight 
years in prison.  The laws provide for criminal punishment for 
anyone who procures, removes, houses or accepts someone who has been 
subjected to unlawful restraint, deprived of freedom, threat, or 
unlawful deception by awakening, strengthening or utilizing his/her 
lack of understanding of the person concerned about circumstances or 
other inappropriate method.  The same penalty shall be applied to a 
person accepting payment or other gain. 
-- D. What are the prescribed penalties for rape or forcible sexual 
assault?  How do they compare to the prescribed penalties for crimes 
of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation? 
Rape is punishable by up to 16 years in prison, but even especially 
brutal rapes rarely draw sentences of more than six years, with one 
or two years' imprisonment more common.  As there have been no 
prosecutions for sex trafficking in Iceland it is impossible to 
compare actual penalties. 
-- E. Is prostitution legalized or decriminalized?  Specifically, 
are the activities of the prostitute criminalized?  Are the 
activities of the brothel owner/operator, clients, pimps, and 
enforcers criminalized?  Are these laws enforced?  If prostitution 
is legal and regulated, what is the legal minimum age for this 
activity?  Note that in many countries with federalist systems, 
prostitution laws may be under state or local jurisdiction and may 
differ among jurisdictions. 
In March 2007 parliament passed a bill that legalized prostitution 
even as a main source of income, yet banned its advertisement. The 
new law also made it illegal for a third party, or pimp, to profit 
from prostitution or procurement of sex, as well as the renting of 
facilities for prostitution. The activities of clients are not 
-- H. Does the government cooperate with other governments in the 
investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases?  If possible, 
can post provide the number of cooperative international 
investigations on trafficking during the reporting period? 
No such cooperation took place in the reporting period, but 
cooperation on narcotics trafficking cases, which police sources 
believe may be connected to the same organized crime networks, did 
take place. 
-- L, M: Not applicable. 
-- A. Does the government assist foreign trafficking victims, for 
example, by providing temporary to permanent residency status, or 
other relief from deportation?  If so, please explain. 
In 2007 a Kenyan woman was granted a residence permit on 
humanitarian grounds. Prior to coming to Iceland she had been 
trafficked as a domestic servant in Great Britain and subsequently a 
British intermediary provided her with a job as a strip dancer in 
Iceland. Upon arrival to Iceland Icelandic border police found her 
travel documents to be false unbeknownst to her. She applied for 
asylum in Iceland and was granted the residence permit, which is the 
first time that a residence permit has been granted to a purported 
TIP victim. 
There is no de jure provision for government assistance to TIP 
REYKJAVIK 00000036  005 OF 007 
victims.  In theory, municipal social services and medical care are 
available to victims as to other citizens and, thanks to 
reimbursements to municipalities from the Ministry of Social 
Affairs, foreigners.  In cases involving unaccompanied children, 
municipal and state child protection services are responsible for 
assistance. The national and local governments may also refer to 
NGOs that provide food, shelter, legal advice, and health care. 
While there is also no de jure provision for grants of residence to 
TIP victims, in practice the Immigration Authority has used its 
discretion to offer permits to foreign women escaping abusive, 
exploitative marriages. 
Members of the working group charged with drafting the first 
Icelandic national action plan against trafficking in persons (see 
5F) said one of the focal points of the action plan will be to call 
for witness and victim protection for trafficking victims, possibly 
including special procedures on granting residence permits to 
trafficking victims. 
-- C. Does the government provide funding or other forms of support 
to foreign or domestic NGOs and/or international organizations for 
services to trafficking victims?  Please explain and provide any 
funding amounts in U.S. dollar equivalent.  If assistance provided 
is in-kind, please specify exact assistance.  Please explain if 
funding for assistance comes from a federal budget or from regional 
or local governments. 
The primary NGOs that provide services to victims of what may be 
trafficking receive considerable financial assistance from the 
government. The 2008 state budget allocates IKR 39.5 million (US 
$607,700) to the Women's Shelter and IKR 32.4 million (US $498,500) 
to the Icelandic Counseling and Information Center for Survivors of 
Sexual Violence (Stigamot). Other NGOs have varying allocations from 
the state budget. One of those is the Women's Advice Center, a legal 
clinic that will receive IKR 800,000 (US $ 12,300) in 2008. These 
funds are not specially earmarked for services to TIP victims. The 
government does not provide funding to foreign NGOs for services to 
-- E. For countries with legalized prostitution: Does the government 
have a mechanism for screening for trafficking victims among persons 
involved in the legal/regulated commercial sex trade? 
The government does not possess any mechanism for screening for 
trafficking victims among prostitutes. As mentioned above, 
prostitution in Iceland has been legalized as of March 2007. 
However, the advertisement of prostitution and any intermediation by 
a third party, or pimp, to profit from the prostitution or 
procurement of sex, is illegal. 
-- F. Are the rights of victims respected?  Are trafficking victims 
detained or jailed?  If detained or jailed, for how long?  Are 
victims fined?  Are victims prosecuted for violations of other laws, 
such as those governing immigration or prostitution? 
While there were no identified trafficking victims in the reporting 
period, in the past possible trafficking victims have been 
prosecuted under laws governing immigration.  Typically they were 
detained and jailed for from 30 to 45 days in advance of 
deportation.  Some of them were offered residence permits on 
humanitarian grounds, but they always turned down the offer, 
according to police. Keflavik Airport border police note that 
provisions for free labor movement within the European Economic Area 
and Schengen zone limit their ability to reach what they believe to 
be possible TIP victims upon arrival.  Instead, police are forced to 
rely on customs provisions allowing them to question travelers 
fitting the profile of narcotics traffickers. 
The Sudurnes Police Commissioner (covering Keflavik International 
Airport) reported that on average police stopped four women per 
month were stopped for questioning on arrival at Keflavik 
International Airport during the reporting period. In the vast 
majority of cases, the purpose of their traveling to Iceland was to 
work in the strip club industry, and a number of them were suspected 
to have been sent to Iceland by a third party.  In the absence of 
evidence of other crimes, police released the women but advised 
potential trafficking victims to seek assistance and information at 
the Information Center for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Reykjavik 
-- G-K: not applicable. 
REYKJAVIK 00000036  006 OF 007 
-- A. Does the government acknowledge that trafficking is a problem 
in the country?  If not, why not? 
Post concurs with the Icelandic government and NGO community 
assessment that there are not a significant number of trafficking 
victims to, through, or from Iceland.  (See 1A above.) 
-- B. Are there, or have there been, government-run anti-trafficking 
information or education campaigns conducted during the reporting 
period?  If so, briefly describe the campaign(s), including their 
objectives and effectiveness.  Please provide the number of people 
reached by such awareness efforts if available.  Do these campaigns 
target potential trafficking victims and/or the demand for 
trafficking (e.g. "clients" of prostitutes or beneficiaries of 
forced labor)? 
There has been no Icelandic government public outreach or 
information campaign on TIP in the reporting period beyond the 
government's announcement that the Ministry of Social Welfare would 
take the lead in drafting an anti-TIP action plan. 
-- C. What is the relationship between government officials, NGOs, 
other relevant organizations and other elements of civil society on 
the trafficking issue? 
NGO representatives have historically complained that the government 
does not invite their participation in the early stages of 
legislative drafting and policy planning. Government officials 
express the view that inviting civil society to comment on 
fully-drawn proposals ought to be sufficient. In spite of this 
tension, individual relationships within the small circle of those 
who regularly work on this issue are cordial and professional. 
NGO representatives note that two events during the reporting period 
improved relations with the government: first, the designation of 
the Ministry of Social Affairs -- which has historically had good 
relations with the NGO community -- as the lead agency on human 
trafficking; and second, that ministry's decision to appoint a 
working group to draft the first Icelandic national action plan 
against trafficking in persons.  This working group includes a 
number of NGO representatives. 
Formal NGO-government relations on TIP also take place in a 
three-person working group under the auspices of the European 
Women's Lobby's Nordic Baltic Task Force.  The group includes one 
representative from the sexual abuse crisis center "Stigamot," one 
from the country's sole Women's Shelter, and a representative from 
the Ministry of Social Affairs.  The group also has 12 associate 
members from other NGOs and government agencies, including 
representatives from the Sudurnes Police Commissioner's office whose 
jurisdiction includes Keflavik International airport (Iceland's only 
international airport).  Though the associate members caution that 
they do not speak on behalf of their respective institutions, the 
group has served as a useful forum for information flow and 
-- D. Does the government monitor immigration and emigration 
patterns for evidence of trafficking?  Do law enforcement agencies 
screen for potential trafficking victims along borders? 
The government monitors immigration and emigration patterns for 
evidence of trafficking; and screens for potential trafficking 
victims at Keflavik International Airport. The country has no land 
borders. The Sudurnes Police Commissioner's office is currently 
cooperating with Stigamot on a pilot project to identify and reach 
women entering Iceland deemed likely to be coming to the country to 
work in the strip club industry. 
Schengen rules limit the government's monitoring of immigration and 
emigration from other Schengen countries. As a backup measure, 
suspected TIP victims have been stopped by customs, where they are 
screened for narcotics, often a concomitant of human trafficking, 
according to police. 
-- E. Is there a mechanism for coordination and communication 
between various agencies, internal, international, and multilateral 
on trafficking-related matters, such as a multi-agency working group 
or a task force?  Does the government have a trafficking in persons 
working group or single point of contact?  Does the government have 
a public corruption task force? 
REYKJAVIK 00000036  007 OF 007 
See 1B above or next question below. 
-- F. Does the government have a national plan of action to address 
trafficking in persons?  If so, which agencies were involved in 
developing it?  Were NGOs consulted in the process?  What steps has 
the government taken to disseminate the action plan? 
The Government of Iceland, more specifically the Ministry of Social 
Affairs, is currently drafting a national plan of action to address 
TIP. The action plan is expected to be completed by April 2008. 
Post understands that at the behest of several NGO representatives, 
the Minister of Social Affairs asked the Minister of Justice, who 
previously had the lead on TIP, to take over the portfolio in 
November 2007. Shortly thereafter, the Minister of Social Affairs 
announced that she had appointed a 10-person working group to draft 
Iceland's first ever action plan to address TIP. The working group 
consists of representatives from the government and the NGOs. In 
previous years, the Justice Minister had demurred on creating an 
action plan, noting that "actions speak louder than action plans." 
Members of the working group expect to model the action plan to some 
extent upon TIP action plans developed in Norway and Denmark. 
Members of the working group expect the final plan to focus on: 
--Codifying a working definition of trafficking in persons in order 
to be able to devise a strategy to identify TIP victims; 
--Reaching out to the Icelandic population with a public awareness 
campaign, and educating the professions that come into contact with 
possible trafficking victims - such as public officials, the police, 
and health workers - about the characteristics of TIP so that they 
can better identify victims and inform them of what options they 
have, such as protection programs; 
--Passage of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish 
Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing 
the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the 
Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human 
Beings; and 
--Calling for victim and witness protection programs specifically 
for TIP victims. 
The duration of the action plan has not been determined.  NGO 
representatives said that the action plan will most likely target 
women in dire conditions such as those who work in the sex 
-- G. For all posts: As part of the new criteria added to the TVPA's 
minimum standards by the 2005 TVPRA, what measures has the 
government taken during the reporting period to reduce the demand 
for commercial sex acts?  (see ref B, para. 9(3) for examples) 
In March 2007 the parliament passed new licensing laws on the 
operations of entertainment establishments, which in effect outlawed 
strip shows as well as lap dances.  This has forced the closure of 
some establishments, though others have exploited some gaps between 
national and municipal-level law to remain in operation.  NGO 
sources maintain that prostitution likely occurs or is brokered in 
these establishments. 
-- H, I: Not applicable. 
End of TIP report submission.