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Man Arrested, Suspected of Human Trafficking

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Man Arrested, Suspected of Human Trafficking

Vík í Mýrdal

From the beach in Vík í Mýrdal. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

A man was arrested yesterday in Vík í Mýrdal, suspected of human trafficking, Vísir reports. According to mbl.is, he and his wife are from Sri Lanka, and so are the two women he is suspected of having kept in forced labor. The man directed the company Vonta International, which sews clothing for Drífa/Icewear. Vonta was a subcontractor for the knitting factory Icewear, but since the arrest, Icewear has rifted its contract with the suspect, Vísir reports.

A large team of police officers took part in the operation in Vík yesterday. Police, who had received tips about individuals being subjected to forced labor, searched for victims. Two women were found in the basement of the man's house, and they are believed to be victims of forced labor.

Tryggvi Ástþórsson, chairman of the local council in Vík and vice chair of the South Iceland Labor Union, said residents were taken aback by the news. “We had no idea they were in the basement. This is beginning to resemble an episode in Trapped,” he said, referring a criminal TV series by Baltasar Kormákur.

He continued, “It’s long overdue to eradicate such criminal activity in Iceland, and we must prevent it from thriving. There were suspicions about something fishy in December, too. Then, there were two or three who were not registered as his employees, but who came as tourists. Those people left in the company of police…This is tragic and pathetic for our community… We’re waking up to the fact that human trafficking exists in Iceland.”

The South Iceland police is in charge of the investigation.

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