Iceland UN report flags up human trafficking problem

There are indications that Iceland has been a stopover point and final destination for victims of human trafficking. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that foreigners have been brought to the country in recent years and forced to work — including in restaurants and the construction industry.

The information comes from a new report on human rights released by the Icelandic Ministry for the Interior. The report will form part of a larger report by the United Nations on the state of human rights globally.

The Icelandic report states that although very few human trafficking victims are known personally to the Icelandic authorities; there are nevertheless clear indications that the country has been the destination for modern-day slaves; as well as a staging point for sending them on, RUV reports.

The trade in people is especially known to concern poor women who are forced into prostitution in many countries around the world. But the report states that there is a strong likelihood that both men and women have been brought to Iceland and forced to work in restaurants and construction sites as well — usually for very little pay and with very few workers’ rights.

The report also summarises actions the government has taken to tackle the problem; including the fact that purchasing sex is now a criminal offence, lap dancing has been banned, and known victims have been granted residency permits in Iceland, among others.

The report was compiled by a working group from several government ministries and will be sent to the UN at the beginning of July.