According to the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police, there are around 20 suspected trafficking cases in Iceland each year.
Detective Snorri Birgisson, who has worked on the issue in recent years, says there is reason to be concerned about the increase in trafficking cases. “There is first and foremost an increase in the number of tourists and foreign workers coming here, which is reason for concern. Asylum seekers are also a group in a sensitive situation and therefore we need to keep our eyes open with regard to that,” he told Vísir.
As reported in January, there has been an increase in the number of suspected cases of trafficking reported to the police in Iceland in recent years. Most cases are defined as labor trafficking relating to the construction industry, cleaning companies, the tourism industry and other areas of work. There are also cases of individuals being exploited sexually.
Snorri points out that there is a shortage of resources for trafficking victims in Iceland. The Women’s Shelter (Kvennaathvarfið) receives female victims. However, Snorri says that in cases where greater security is needed, it may not be appropriate for a victim to go the shelter. “The Women’s Shelter is a very good place with reliable, professional staff but the shelter does is not always suitable. In some cases, an individual needs to be moved out of the capital area, or even be moved out of the country. We need resources for male victims immediately and children and we need to develop our work procedures, options and resources when The Women’s Shelter isn’t suitable. Then we need good cross-disciplinary close cooperation with specialists in this area and I believe that will be possible in the near future,” Snorri says.
In an interview with Vísir earlier this week, Snorri called for a ban on websites which advertise sexual services. Read more about that story here.