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Children Brought Here Under False Pretenses

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Children Brought Here Under False Pretenses

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Directorate of Immigration suspects children are being brought to Iceland under false pretenses, or that the individuals meant to house the children aren’t their legal guardians, Vísir reports. Alda Hrönn Jóhannsdóttir, deputy chief of police in the Greater Reykjavík Area reports police have investigated a trafficking case where suspected victims were under the age of 18.

She mentions that a victim in a trafficking case from 2009 was only 17 when she first arrived in the country. “Other than that, there are no statistics in this area, except for this year, so it’s hard to estimate numbers. But, yes, we have suspicions, both with regard to exploitation in prostitution and forced labor.

A report on human trafficking from the US Department of State, published in July, recommends that Icelandic authorities “provide regular training to officials on proactive identification of trafficking victims, particularly among migrant workers, unaccompanied children, and asylum seekers; provide specialized services for male and child trafficking victims.”

Þorsteinn Gunnarsson at the Directorate of Immigration says police and social services are notified when there is suspicion of children coming here without legal guardians, and when their circumstances are not as stated in their documents. According to him, there is no confirmed case of children having been brought to the country to be exploited. There are cases, however, where children have arrived with incorrect birth certificates or documents to proof guardianship. “There have been cases where the circumstances are such that there is rather an attempt to save the children or to circumvent rules for adoption,” Þorsteinn explained.

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