Last Updated: Friday, 24 October 2014, 15:39 GMT

2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Norway

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 27 June 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Norway, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee572d.html [accessed 25 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Norway (Tier 1)

Norway is a destination and, to a lesser extent, a transit and source country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking and for men and women subjected to forced labor in the domestic service and construction sectors. Foreign children are subjected to forced begging and forced criminal activity, such as shoplifting and drug sales. Most trafficking victims identified in Norway in 2010 originated in Nigeria, while others came from Algeria, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, China, the Philippines, Ghana, Eritrea, Cameroon, Kenya, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These victims usually travel to Norway on Schengen visas issued by other European countries, and transit several countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Morocco. Approximately 25 percent of all trafficking victims in Norway in 2010 were children. Criminal organizations are often involved in human trafficking in Norway, and trafficking schemes varied by victims' countries of origin. Children in Norwegian refugee centers and migrants who are denied asylum are vulnerable to human trafficking in the country; unofficial reports indicated that 47 children disappeared from refugee centers during the 2010 calendar year.

The Government of Norway fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government increased the number of trafficking convictions and lengthened the sentences imposed on convicted trafficking offenders, although Norwegian authorities did not prosecute any labor trafficking cases this year. The government approved a new permanent residency permit to trafficking victims who face retribution and hardship in their home country, even in the absence of court testimony, if the victim testifies to police. NGOs reported, however, that a child trafficking victim was deported in 2010 despite identification as a victim.

Recommendations for Norway: Continue efforts to vigorously prosecute and convict both sex and labor trafficking offenders, and analyze why some criminal investigations into suspected human trafficking offenses are dropped or downgraded to pimping; continue training efforts for immigration authorities and refugee reception centers to ensure that trafficking victims are identified and not punished or deported before investigation; consider establishing procedures by which deportation orders could be revoked once issued if it is discovered that trafficking occurred; ensure that male and child trafficking victims also receive adequate protection services and that all governmental anti-trafficking efforts are structured to address male as well as female victims of trafficking; improve partnerships among anti-trafficking authorities, local police, and child welfare officers; ensure that front-line responders understand the reflection period and offer it to identified victims; fund a national anti-trafficking awareness campaign; and establish a national anti-trafficking rapporteur to draft critical assessments of Norway's anti-trafficking efforts.

Prosecution

The Norwegian government improved its law enforcement efforts during the reporting period, though many of its labor trafficking investigations failed to result in prosecutions. Norway prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through Criminal Code Section 224, which prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment in aggravated cases – a penalty sufficiently stringent and commensurate with punishments prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. Norwegian authorities initiated 26 sex trafficking investigations and 11 labor trafficking investigations in 2010, compared with 31 sex trafficking and seven labor trafficking investigations initiated in 2009. The government prosecuted 11 trafficking offenders under Section 224 for sex trafficking, an increase from seven sex trafficking offenders in 2009. International organizations and the specialized police unit reported that forced labor victims were less likely to be identified than victims of sex trafficking and no investigations of forced labor this year resulted in prosecution. Eight trafficking offenders were convicted in 2010, compared with six offenders convicted in 2009. As during the prior year, all of the trafficking offenders received jail sentences; there were no suspended sentences. Seven of the eight trafficking offenders convicted in 2010 received terms of imprisonment between nine months and four years, with an average sentence of two years in prison. At least two of these cases involved the sex trafficking of children. One sex trafficking offender, who exploited two boys, received a sentence of 10 years. This was an increase in the terms of imposed sentences, as offenders convicted in 2009 received an average of 30 months' imprisonment. The government also investigated labor crimes involving children. In 2010, the Bergen police placed in custody six Romanians on charges of trafficking five children from Romania to Norway to steal, beg, and peddle illegal drugs. In addition to the Government of Norway's specialized anti-trafficking unit housed in the Police Directorate, the government operated specialized anti-trafficking investigators in its two largest cities, Oslo and Bergen. Norwegian authorities collaborated with several European governments to investigate trafficking cases, including the governments of Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Spain.

Protection

The Government of Norway sustained strong victim protection efforts, although an NGO reported that a child trafficking victim was penalized and deported for crimes that he or she committed as a result of being trafficked. The government empowered and trained a diverse set of actors to proactively identify and refer victims of trafficking; municipalities, police, international organizations, NGOs, and other Norwegian authorities made 531 referrals of potential victims to the National Coordination Unit for official victim identification. In 2009, the government referred approximately 292 victims to care. In September 2010, the coordination unit for victims of human trafficking conducted a two-day national seminar on identifying trafficking victims. The 200 participants included representatives from the police, immigration authorities, asylum centers, child protective services, and NGOs. The government provided some services directly to victims and other services through an NGO-operated project. In 2010, the Norwegian government reported providing services for 319 trafficking victims, including 194 sex trafficking victims, 105 victims of labor trafficking, and 20 victims of both sex and labor trafficking. The government gave trafficking victims in Norway shelter in domestic violence centers, medical care, vocational training, stipends, Norwegian classes, and legal assistance. Although the formal mandate of the government's anti-trafficking program covers only women, government-funded NGOs provided care to men as well during the reporting period. There were no state-funded shelters providing specialized services to child victims of trafficking. Victims were permitted to stay in Norway without conditions during a six-month reflection period, a time for them to receive immediate care and assistance while they consider whether to assist law enforcement. Under new regulations adopted in 2010, the Norwegian government approved a new permanent residency permit for victims facing retribution or hardship in their countries, on the condition that they give statements to the police outside of court. Any victim of trafficking, regardless of potential retribution or hardship at home, who made a formal complaint to the police, could remain in Norway for the duration of trial; victims who testified in court were entitled to permanent residency. Inter-governmental organizations observed that very few people outside of the active anti-trafficking circles were aware of the reflection period. A child victim of trafficking reportedly was detained and deported for criminal activity because the immigration authorities had not identified the child as a trafficking victim. When immigration authorities were informed of the child's status as a victim of trafficking, they reportedly continued with the deportation.

Prevention

The Norwegian government improved its trafficking prevention efforts this reporting period. In December 2010, the government issued its new anti-trafficking action plan for 2011-2014, which focuses on the protection of children and the monitoring of illegal capital flows from human trafficking. Senior government officials visited asylum centers that care for unaccompanied foreign children to study this potential trafficking problem and raise its profile. The national action plan also set forth new strategies to prevent forced begging. The national coordinating unit for victims of human trafficking collected annual statistics on trafficking and published its results in public reports; the new national action plan required annual reports on trends, challenges, and research needs on trafficking. The government also commissioned two other major studies from research institutions on the reflection period and on collaboration with intergovernmental institutions. The coordination unit for victims of human trafficking operated a national trafficking hotline. The government did not, however, fund any national trafficking awareness campaigns targeting labor or sex trafficking. The government continued its leadership role as an international donor to anti-trafficking initiatives, providing approximately $12.8 million to international efforts and bilateral cooperation against human trafficking. This was a significant increase from the approximately $9.3 million awarded in foreign assistance for anti-trafficking efforts in 2009. The Norwegian government made efforts to combat the demand for prostitution by charging approximately 280 individuals with the crime of purchasing or attempting to purchase sexual services. In 2010, the government funded a small-scale education campaign carried out by an NGO and targeting 18-year old students to increase their awareness of prostitution issues. In February 2011, the government funded a project to reach out to prospective purchasers of sexual services and counsel against the illegal practice. The government provided anti-trafficking training to Norwegian troops before their deployment overseas on international peacekeeping missions.

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