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.