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NORWAY: Tier 1

The Government of Norway fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period; therefore, Norway remained on Tier 1. The government demonstrated serious and sustained efforts by signing a new anti-trafficking action plan and devoting more resources to victim protection. Although the government meets the minimum standards, it did not report a high level of law enforcement efforts relative to the number of victims identified; from 2007 to 2016, approximately 2,800 potential trafficking victims received assistance in Norway, yet authorities have secured only 50 convictions since 2003.

Train investigators on compiling evidence additional to victims’ testimonies; train prosecutors on the application of the trafficking law; vigorously prosecute and convict sex and labor traffickers; adequately resource police departments to investigate trafficking crimes; enhance communication between police and immigration authorities and proactively screen foreigners in detention for indicators of trafficking prior to their deportation; continue collaborative efforts to combat labor trafficking offenses; and produce public awareness campaigns on trafficking.

The government maintained law enforcement efforts. The penal code was amended in October 2015; section 257 defines human trafficking consistent with the 2000 UN Protocol to include all forms of sex and labor trafficking; it criminalizes the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of prostitution, labor, army recruitment or organ removal and specifies that with regard to the trafficking of children, the use of force, fraud or coercion is not a required element of the crime. Section 258 in the amended penal code criminalizes “gross human trafficking,” which includes those trafficking offenses in which the victim was a child or gross violence or coercion was used, the maximum penalty under section 257 is six years imprisonment and for section 258, 10 years. This punishment is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with punishments prescribed for other serious offenses, such as rape. Authorities initiated 46 investigations (42 sex trafficking cases and four labor trafficking cases), compared with 61 (43 sex trafficking cases and 18 labor trafficking cases) in 2015. The government prosecuted seven suspects in four different cases (three sex trafficking and one labor trafficking suspects), compared with 11 suspects (six sex trafficking and five labor trafficking suspects) in 2015. Authorities obtained four convictions (three sex traffickers and one labor trafficker), compared with 11 (six sex traffickers and five labor traffickers) in 2015. All of the convicted traffickers under the 2016 reporting period received prison sentences.

In 2016, the National Criminal Investigation Service began developing a standardized training curriculum for use in all police districts. The government organized a national seminar on human trafficking for law enforcement and others, which focused on victim identification and prosecution; the 300 attendees included police officers, prosecutors, immigration officials, asylum and reception center representatives, health care professionals, NGOs, and others from across the country. The government earmarked 15 million kroner ($1.7 million) annually for the establishment of specialized anti-trafficking units in Norway’s five largest police districts, under the supervision of the police directorate. The Bergen police maintained a specialized unit dedicated to combating trafficking. In 2015, Parliament mandated that all 12 police districts in Norway have a trafficking unit—funds have been allocated for five of these police districts as of April 2017. The national police directorate and Ministry of Justice were in dialogue about proper funding with Parliament. Many municipalities did not have prosecutors with specialized training in trafficking cases; as a result, prosecutors sometimes brought pimping charges in trafficking cases when the accused trafficker used forms of force, fraud, or coercion other than physical violence. In these cases, victims were not automatically provided the benefits given under the trafficking laws, and convicted offenders could receive penalties that were not dissuasive or proportionate to the crime. Even when trafficking perpetrators were prosecuted for pimping, if authorities believed there may have been elements of trafficking associated with the crime, the victims have sometimes been eligible for a resident permit. With a residence permit, victims are entitled to social benefits such as financial support and welfare services. A government report found that a large number of trafficking cases that were investigated were not prosecuted, due in part to limitation on prosecutorial capacity and training to deal with trafficking cases, as well as investigators relying solely on victims’ testimony without additional evidence that would help support successful prosecutions. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in human trafficking offenses.

The government maintained protection efforts. In 2016, the government reported identifying and providing services for 262 trafficking victims, including 46 men, 199 women, and 17 children, compared with approximately 290 victims overall in 2015. Within the total number of trafficking victims reported in 2016, 185 were sex trafficking victims, 60 were forced labor victims, and 17 were a combination of both. The government provided protection to trafficking victims through municipal crisis centers and government-funded NGOs. These NGOs provided foreign and domestic victims with shelter, legal aid, stipends for food, psychological care, medical assistance, fitness facilities, and Norwegian language classes. Additionally, the government’s ROSA project (Re-establishment, Organizing safe places to stay, Security, Assistance) managed a 24-hour hotline for potential victims saw an increase in calls, particularly from potential labor trafficking victims, after additional funding allowed the hotline to stay open outside of business hours. In 2015, Parliament established a new grant scheme of providing seven million kroner ($811,971) exclusively for measures to prevent trafficking in persons and support victims. In 2016, two NGOs received grants of 5.9 million kroner ($684,375) and 2.25 million kroner ($260,991), respectively, to operate shelters, including one for male victims. ROSA remained the largest project exclusively intended to assist victims of trafficking and received 3.75 million kroner ($434,984) in government funding. ROSA received 97 initial contacts from possible victims through their hotline, in contrast with 125 contacts in 2015. The contrast in numbers is a result of the type of assistance needed once contact is made with ROSA. Of the 97 making initial contact, 40 ultimately accepted shelter, compared to 38 in 2015. Another publicly supported NGO assisted sex trafficking victims who had been granted a reflection period with vocational programs and sponsored internships. Child Welfare Services provided specialized care to child victims, including accommodation in a child protection institution or a foster home. GRETA previously reported Norwegian border officials did not adequately identify potential victims. Experts observed the police were under pressure to deport individuals without legal status and often pursued deportation without screening for indicators of trafficking, particularly among individuals in prostitution.

Authorities granted a six-month reflection period to 24 victims and temporary residence permits to 23 victims in 2016, compared with 22 and 41, respectively, in 2015. Observers expressed concern over the lack of communication between police and immigration authorities, resulting in the deportation of victims who may have merited temporary residency. Victims could receive a longer-term residence permit if they made a formal complaint to the police and the authorities decided they needed the victims’ assistance for the investigation and prosecution. Victims facing retribution or hardship in their countries of origin could apply for asylum after law enforcement no longer required their assistance; 17 victims received asylum status in 2016 (11 in 2015). There were isolated incidents of potential victims being inappropriately detained or fined for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking.

The government maintained modest prevention efforts. Norway introduced a new anti-trafficking action plan, effective in January 2017, which was developed with NGO consultation. The government did not fund any information campaigns targeted towards potential trafficking victims in 2016. The government raised awareness among employers of regulations around employing migrants, as well as notifying the public to refrain from using abnormally cheap services, in attempt to combat forced labor. The government did not report any specific measures to reduce the demand for commercial sex. The government provided anti-trafficking training for its diplomatic personnel. The government provided anti-trafficking training to troops prior to their deployment abroad as part of international peacekeeping missions.

As reported over the past five years, Norway is a destination and, to a lesser extent, transit and source country for women and girls subjected to sex trafficking, and for men and women subjected to forced labor in domestic service, car washing, and construction. Children are subjected to domestic servitude, forced begging, and forced criminal activity, such as shoplifting and drug sales. Trafficking victims identified in Norway primarily originate from Eastern Europe and Africa—particularly Albania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Nigeria, and Romania, as well as victims from Pakistan. Foreign au pairs, including those from the Philippines, are vulnerable to trafficking in Norway. Some children, who had disappeared or had been recruited from asylum centers were subsequently subjected to trafficking by organized trafficking groups.

U.S. Department of State

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