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Sexual exploitation is when a person is forced to take part in sexual activity against her will. Often it is in exchange for money but sometimes access to sex is given in exchange for other things for which the victim gets no payment.

Many consider prostitution the same as sexual exploitation. To sell prostitution is legal in Iceland but it is illegal for someone else to benefit from selling access to a person’s body. Hotel rooms, clubs, and private homes are examples of places where victims are forced to sell their bodies. Perpetrators have great mental control over their victims and often use that fear to get what they want.

Sexual exploitation can be when:

  • Access to your body is being sold without you wanting it.
  • You are threatened and forced to continue selling your body against your will.
  • You don't receive medical assistance due to sexually transmitted diseases or other injuries caused by sexual activity with strangers.
  • Somebody doesn't allow you to protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases if you decide to go into prostitution.

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Kona með sítt hár situr og heldur um lappirnar


Miriam was captivated and forced into prostitution in her home country. She is sent on a plane to Iceland with a forged ID after her hair was cut and colored. Miriam doesn't have the courage to object to the people exploiting her because they threaten to hurt her family back home if she doesn't do what they say. Miriam has no money and no friends to go to and she trusts no one. Therefore, Miriam has no other option but to continue working as a prostitute when she arrives in Iceland. She doesn't know where she'll be sent next time or how to get out of this vicious circle.

Is this abuse?


Stígamót helps people of all genders who have been sexually abused.

ER for Sexual Abuse

The Emergency Room assists anyone who has been raped, experienced attempted rape or any other sexual abuse.

Stop The Traffik: Iceland

Stop The Traffik: Iceland is an independent organization working towards educating human trafficking victims and the public about the nature of human trafficking, symptoms, and resources.


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


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

Icelandic Human Rights Centre

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