Cablegate: Eighth Annual Anti-Trafficking in Persons (Tip) Report For

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.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC