A presumed victim of Trafficking in Human Beings is identified (recognized)
Organisations most likely to be the first ones to identify a presumed victim
- Police units (including at Keflavík International Airport)
- Directorate of Immigration
- Directorate of Labour
- Local authorities
- Social services
- Trade unions
- Women’s Shelter
- Child protection services
- Icelandic Human Rights Center
National Point of Contact / Initial Referral
The National Police Emergency line 112
Formal identification of a victim
There is no formal identification process of victims of human trafficking in Iceland. However, victims can be granted all the necessary assistance without formal identification. The legal status of victim may be granted by the police or the Directorate of Immigration following an assessment by the police.
Reflection period / Residence permit
Presumed victims of THB can be issued a temporary residence permit for up to nine months with the option of a one-year renewal. The person with such a permit shall not be expelled during this period. The residence permit can be refused if there are reasons to suspect that the person is claiming to be a victim solely in order to gain a residence permit or if the granting of the permit is against public order. The permit applies only to third-country nationals. An application has to be submitted to the Directorate of Immigration and the police have to give an opinion on the case. If the police give an opinion stating that the person is a possible THB victim, then the permit is granted.
Is the victim willing to report a crime and take part in criminal proceedings?
The Ministry of Social Affairs has overall responsibility for providing welfare services to victims of trafficking. In case of a possible victim of THB, the Ministry convenes an operational team to ensure the provision of welfare services, with the victim’s consent. The team is composed of representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Primary Health Care Centre, the Women‘s Shelter, the Police, the Department of Welfare Services of Reykjavík Municipality, the Directorate of Labour and other local authorities and social services, depending on where the person is located.
The operational team does not have a mandate to formally identify victims of trafficking, but it rather provides a collaborative network for referring presumed victims to assistance. The decision on whether a person is presumed to be a victim of THB and therefore needs assistance is made by the team in co-operation with different stakeholders.
- The Family Justice Centres Bjarkarhlið (located in the capital) and Bjarmahlið (located in Akureyri in the northern part of the country), which are a multi-disciplinary service centres for adult survivors of violence provide a holistic approach to adult victims of violence who are interviewed in the same location by different specialists (social worker, lawyer, police officer) and are supported in a warm welcoming environment.
- The Icelandic Human Rights Centre provides free legal counselling to all persons of foreign origin in Iceland and information about their legal rights and other services available to them.
- Victims and presumed victims of THB are entitled to emergency health care, regardless of their immigration status. Victims have access to health care at the Primary Health Care Centre and psychological assistance that is provided by a special team at Landspitali (the National University Hospital).
- The Women’s Shelter in Reykjavík provides safe shelter to victims of human trafficking and necessary protection (accompanied by their children, if any).
There are no safe shelters available for male victims. However, social services in the municipality where male victims are located provide them with safe housing. The accomodation costs are refunded by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Assistance provided by municipalities
Municipalities are obligated to provide all their residents with necessary services and assistance. Persons without legal residence in Iceland are provided with necessary assistance by the municipality where they are located. All expenses regarding victims of human trafficking are refunded by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Victims are offered financial support, depending on their need’s assessment, and financial assistance. The financial assistance covers food, rent, transportation and other basic needs.
Does the victim wish to return to the country of origin?
An institutional and procedural framework for the voluntary return of victims of trafficking has not been established in Iceland. Municipalities have assisted victims (financially) who choose to go back to their country of origin. Travel costs are refunded by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Long-term assistance to a victim
Victims of human trafficking are not granted long term assistance specifically based on their status. General integration assistance is available to all migrants in Iceland. All services provided for migrants are mainstreamed services within the social service system. Municipal authorities shall ensure that migrants have the same access to social services as other residents of the municipality.
Migrants who are victims of human trafficking are entitled to the same general integration assistance as other migrants in Iceland, e.g. social assistance and counselling. If victims of human trafficking are granted residence permit on humanitarian grounds they, like refugees, receive assistance to get settled in Iceland. This assistance includes housing and comprehensive social counseling for the duration up to two years in addition to services that local authorities are obliged to provide. Residence permit on humanitarian grounds is granted for one year at a time. However, when renewed it is permissible to extend the permit for as long as two years. S/he may receive travel documents for foreigners that are accepted in all EU member states and in most other countries in the world, however, s/he can not use them for going to the country of origin unless this is especially authorized. Migrants with a residence permit on humanitarian grounds are entitled to receive a permanent residence permit and after five years of residence in to receive Icelandic citizenship if all the other 3 requirements are fulfilled.
Type of assistance and contact details
Type of assistance Institution/ organization Contact details Overall responsibility for providing welfare services to victims of THB. Ministry of Social Affairs Phone: (+354) 545 8100
More detailed info: www.frn.is
Holistic assistance to victims of violence, including THB victims Family Justice Centre Bjarkarhlið Phone: (+354) 553 3000
More detailed info: www.bjarkarhlid.is
Holistic assistance to victims of violence, including THB victims Family Justice Centre Bjarmahlið Phone: (+354) 551 2520
More detailed info: www.Bjarmahlid.is
Emergency shelter, general consultations, advice,support, information access and/or guidelines, self-help groups. Women’s Shelter in Reykjavík (Kvennaathvarf) 24/7 hotline: (+354) 561 1205
Phone: (+354) 561 3720
More detailed info: www.kvennaathvarf.is
Legal counselling Icelandic Human Rights Centre (ICEHR) Phone: (+354) 552 2720
More detailed info: www.humanrights.is/en
Free individual counselling for female and male victims of exploitation and prostitution. NGO Stígamót (Education and Counselling Centre for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence Phone: (+354) 562 6868 or800 6868
More detailed info: www.stigamot.is/is/languages/english