Methods of human trafficking criminals

  • Grooming. The perpetrator is good at finding people who are in some kind of a sensitive situation. The goal is to gain control of a person, to manipulate her into doing something, and create profit for the perpetrator.
  • Selection. The perpetrator chooses an individual who is in a sensitive position, for example, someone in search of a better life due to poverty or fleeing war. It could also be a foreigner who might not know the laws and regulations in the new country so agreeing to things they would never do if well informed.
  • Gain trust. At first, the perpetrator makes sure the victim gets everything they need. It could be housing, a phone, or other essentials the victim might need. This is done to establish trust.
  • Isolation. The first visible symptom of human trafficking is when the perpetrator isolates the victim, keeps them from their family, friends, or circumstances that may inform the victim that their being groomed and tricked.
  • Exploitation. The victim is used for work that benefits the perpetrator. This could be the lower wages than agreed or saying the wages will have to cover travel costs, medical costs, or other bills that the perpetrator has provided.
  • Maintaining control. The perpetrator has a lot of control over the victim at this stage: taking the victim’s passports or other important documents and threaten to hurt the victim or their family if they don’t follow orders. It is known for a perpetrator to lie to a victim of sex exploitation that prostitution is illegal in Iceland and threatens to report the victim to the police if the victim doesn’t do what he says. Selling prostitution is legal in Iceland, but selling access to another person’s body is illegal.

What are the forms of human trafficking?

Contact 112 if you think you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking.

What can you do to stop human trafficking?

A person who is a victim of human trafficking may feel helpless and have difficulty trusting others. It is important to remember that you can always get help.

Whether you are a victim of human trafficking or suspect that someone is, the first step is to contact 112 by phone or the web chat.

The emergency operators at 112 are neutral people connected to all the resources that can help victims of human trafficking. The person who calls can choose whether to inform the police or keep them out of the case. The individual is offered to speak to a consultant at Bjarkarhlíð, who provide coordinated services for potential victims of human trafficking. There is offered:

  • Connection to social services and the Directorate of Labour.
  • Assistance with applying for a temporary residence permit.
  • Legal assistance.
  • Assistance with search for housing.
  • Assistance with seeking medical help.
  • Information about the reporting process and how the police administer justice.

The police work with people to get them out of the human trafficking situation. The police’s goal is always to investigate the case with the individual’s safety at the forefront.

Do you recognize abuse?

See more stories
Kona með sítt hár situr og heldur um lappirnar


Miriam was captivated and forced into prostitution in her home country. Next thing she knows, her hair has been cut and colored and she is sent on a plane to Iceland with a forged ID. There she has to continue working as a prostitute.

Miriam does not have the courage to object to the people exploiting her because they threaten to hurt her family back home if she does not do what they say. Miriam has no money nor friends to go to and she trusts no one. She does not know where she will be sent next time or how to get out of this vicious circle.

Is this abuse?

Available support

See all support


Bjarkarhlíð is a center for people who have experienced abuse. There you get all the support and counseling you need in one place. All assistance is on your terms.

Multicultural Information Centre

Immigrants in Iceland can get information about their rights and obligations at the Multicultural Centre.


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.


The police in Iceland help people who have suffered abuse of any kind. Police see abuse in close relationships as a very serious matter.

New in Iceland

If you have recently moved to Iceland or are still adjusting and have any questions, you can contact the consultation service New in Iceland.