Viewing cable 08REYKJAVIK36, EIGHTH ANNUAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS (TIP) REPORT FOR
Every cable message consists of three parts:
- The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
- The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
- The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #08REYKJAVIK36.
|08REYKJAVIK36||2008-03-07 12:12||2011-01-13 05:05||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Reykjavik|
VZCZCXRO8361 OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG DE RUEHRK #0036/01 0671222 ZNR UUUUU ZZH O 071222Z MAR 08 FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3583 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 REYKJAVIK 000036 SIPDIS SENSITIVE SIPDIS DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/NB:SWHEELER, G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, AND EUR/PGI STATE PASS USAID E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PHUM KCRM KWMN ELAB SMIG ASEC KFRD PREF IC SUBJECT: EIGHTH ANNUAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS (TIP) REPORT FOR ICELAND 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 EvansBR@state.gov. 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 children. 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 services). 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 decline. 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 ambiguity. -- 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. ¶3. INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS: -- 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 imprisonment: ¶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 method. ¶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, respectively. -- 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 punishment. 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 criminalized. -- 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. ¶4. PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS: -- 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 victims. -- 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 (Stigamot). -- G-K: not applicable. REYKJAVIK 00000036 006 OF 007 ¶5. (SBU) PREVENTION: -- 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 coordination. -- 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 industry. -- 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. VAN VOORST