The Red Cross will open a special hotline for victims of human trafficking, to go into operation this autumn.
Björn Teitsson, the public relations official for the Red Cross in Iceland, told RÚV that summer vacation has delayed setting up the project, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided funding for last December.
The number, 1717, will allow victims of human trafficking to get fast access to help. Before then, the next step will be to train volunteers.
“There isn’t a lot of specialist knowledge of this subject in Iceland,” he told reporters. “It is necessary for related parties, whether they’re social workers, the police or the Red Cross, to develop their knowledge in this area,” adding that he predicts they will bring in a foreign expert to train Icelanders.
As reported, in a new US Department of State report on human trafficking, Iceland is called “a destination and transit country for women subjected to sex trafficking and men and women subjected to labor trafficking”. One of the areas for improvement the report points out is the need for an emergency line for victims of human trafficking.
While the State Department praised Iceland for “fully meet[ing] the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking”, it did note that “for the third consecutive year there were no prosecutions or convictions of suspected traffickers.”
Apart from stepping up prosecutions, the report also recommends that Iceland “expand training for officials on proactive identification of trafficking victims, particularly among migrant workers, unaccompanied children, and asylum seekers.”