Human trafficking is a serious violation of human rights

Human trafficking takes advantage of another person’s hopes and dreams, by forcing them to live their life differently than they choose. It is a common misunderstanding to think that human trafficking is just prostitution and only women can become victims. People of all ages and from all backgrounds can become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world. Some groups are more exposed than others, for example migrants or other people in search of a better life, people who live in poverty or are addicted to drugs, homeless young people and children.

It can be human trafficking if someone:

  • Does not pay you salary for your work.
  • Threatens you or your family violence if you do not do something.
  • Forces you to live in unhealthy circumstances.
  • Keeps you confined somewhere against your will.
  • Takes away your passport or other important documents.
  • Forges your passport or provides you with a fake passport
  • Pays for your travel to Iceland and makes you pay the debt by working.
  • Forbids you to talk about your circumstances with your friends, family, or authorities.
  • Forbids you to seek medical help or demands to accompany you to the doctor.

Examples of human trafficking

Domestic servitude

When someone forces a person to do things that are not part of their job, it is called domestic servitude. That is one of the human trafficking manifestations.

Forced marriage

If a person is forced to marry to benefit from it themselves or the other one, for example, to gain a residential permit or citizenship, it is human trafficking and is called forced marriage.

Sexual exploitation

Sexual exploitation is when a person benefits from selling access to another person's body for sexual purposes.

Labor exploitation

Labor exploitation is when a person is exploited without getting the rights and wages she has the rights to according to law. The perpetrator uses deceit and threats to maintain the situation.

Forced crime

When someone forces you to commit a crime to benefit from it themselves, it is human trafficking.

Forced begging

It is human trafficking when someone forces another person to beg for money in public for their own benefit.

If you think you are a victim of trafficking, you can start a conversation with 112 and get help right away.

Who are the traffickers?

Anyone can be a perpetrator: someone who acts like your friend, a supervisor, a family member, or even your partner. They seduce the victim by showing attention, care, love, safety, or a promise of a job - all to gain trust. You might not thank that you are being abused and that you are a human trafficking victim.

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.

Icelandic Human Rights Centre

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


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

Know the methods of exploiters

If you recognize the symptoms and methods of human trafficking, you increase the possibility of dissolving it.

More trafficking methods

Trafficking can also be child soldiers and organ trafficking.