The government decreased efforts to identify trafficking victims and refer victims to care facilities, but increased efforts to shelter and provide services to victims. The government identified four victims in 2016 (four in 2015). All four victims were subjected to forced labor. Authorities referred one victim to care facilities for assistance. In December 2016, the government renewed its two-year agreement to provide funding for an NGO-run domestic abuse shelter to provide emergency shelter to female trafficking victims and their children. The 2017 state budget allocated 71 million krona ($629,042) to the domestic abuse shelter. In 2016, the state budget allocated 70.6 million krona ($625,498) to the shelter, compared with 65.1 million krona ($576,770) for 2015. The Ministry of Welfare provided the shelter with an additional 350,000 krona ($3,101) for the provision of services for trafficking victims. The shelter maintained a team of specialists to manage cases involving possible trafficking victims. Victims had access to free legal, medical, psychological, and financial assistance, whether or not they stayed at the shelter or cooperated with authorities. Municipal social service agencies provided services and financial assistance to trafficking victims, and the welfare ministry reimbursed the municipalities for all associated expenses. In 2016, the government refunded 22.3 million krona ($197,572) to municipal governments for expenses related to “foreign citizens in distress,” which may have included trafficking victims. The government allocated 71 million krona ($629,042) in the 2016 state budget to a separate NGO offering psychological services to victims, compared with 65.5 million krona ($580,314) in 2015. The government in collaboration with several NGOs opened a center offering free comprehensive services to abuse victims, including trafficking victims, as a two-year pilot project. There were no shelter services or specialized care available for male victims, though they could access general social services and receive referrals to NGOs providing food, shelter, legal advice, and healthcare. Municipal and state child protection services were responsible for assisting unaccompanied children, including child trafficking victims.
The national police commissioner published detailed procedures for police to use to identify, contact, and deal with possible trafficking victims to provide them with assistance. The government distributed information on the EU-issued “Guidelines for the Identification of Victims of Trafficking” and NGO-developed interview guidelines to government employees most likely to come into contact with trafficking victims. The directorate of immigration had written procedures to identify trafficking victims and provide them with information and resources, including during the interview process for asylum-seekers. Immigration and police officers maintained a pocket checklist to identify potential victims and inform them of available services. NGOs stated these procedures worked effectively in practice. Witness protection for trafficking victims was not mandated by law, but the government provided it in practice. Victims could file civil suits against traffickers or seek restitution from the government, but no victims did during the reporting period. Prior to January 2017, any foreign trafficking victim could obtain a six-month residence permit; temporary residence permits issued after that date were valid for nine months. An additional one-year renewable residence permit was available to victims who cooperated with law enforcement or who may have faced retribution or hardship in their home countries; however, victims with either temporary residence permit could not apply for a permit to work legally in the country. The government issued one temporary residence permit in 2016. Trafficking victims have left the country pending investigations because they were legally unable to work or obtain permanent residence permits. There were no reports authorities detained, fined, or jailed victims for illegal acts committed as a result of being subjected to trafficking.