Domestic servitude is a hidden form of human trafficking

A person that agrees to work as a maid or assist in looking after children can experience conditions changing fast, even if a contract has been signed. It can be domestic servitude if:

  • You live with a different family from the one you are working for.
  • You don’t get your own room or private space to stay in.
  • You sleep in the same space as others or somewhere normally not used as a bedroom.
  • You are rarely allowed to go out and never without your supervisor.
  • Your host family threatens you, insults you repeatedly, or abuses you.
  • You don’t get paid for your work.
  • You need to work very long hours and only get paid for part of it.

Get help

If you are a victim of human trafficking, or suspect someone is, you can contact 112 by phone or webchat. There you will get help and information about resources. You can choose wether the police is involved or not.

A conversation with 112 can help someone out of domestic servitude. Do you know anyone like that?

What are signs of human trafficking?

Human trafficking methods are known. If you know the symptoms and methods of human trafficking you increase the chances of eliminating it.

Do you recognize abuse?

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Bella enjoys taking care of the children but does not have the courage to refuse when she is also made working as a servant at the home, and for friends of the family. She only gets half of the pocket money she is supposed to get according to the au-pair contract. When Bella finds the courage to speak up about it, the family threatens to terminate her contract and have her sent back home if she makes a big deal out of this.

Is this abuse?

Icelandic Human Rights Centre

At the Icelandic Human Rights Centre, immigrants can get free legal counsel.


W.O.M.E.N (Women Of Multicultural Ethnicity Network in Iceland) is a social organization for women of foreign origin living in Iceland.


The Red Cross Helpline 1717 is a phone service and webchat for those who need someone to talk to in confidentiality. They are open 24 hours, and it's free to call.

Labor exploitation

When a person is exploited without getting the rights and wages she has the rights to according to law, it is called labor exploitation. The perpetrator uses deceit and threats to maintain the situation.