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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. These efforts included allocating additional funds to NGOs for victim assistance, establishing a coordinating unit for service and assistance to child trafficking victims, and organizing anti-trafficking units in each of Norway’s police districts. Although the government meets the minimum standards, authorities possessed a limited knowledge of trafficking laws and issued fewer residence permits to victims. For the second consecutive year, the government did not report the number of identified and assisted victims. Furthermore, the government continued to lack formal identification procedures and a national referral mechanism (NRM).

Increase training for investigators and prosecutors on applying trafficking laws and understanding different aspects of trafficking, such as investigations and rights of victims. • Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict sex and labor traffickers under Sections 257 and 258. • Develop a comprehensive NRM and victim identification procedures that receive adequate input from NGOs and define processes and roles of all relevant government agencies and front-line actors. • Proactively screen foreigners and asylum-seekers in detention for indicators of trafficking prior to their deportation. • Complete a comprehensive statistical system, including data on child trafficking, victim identification and assistance, victim compensation, investigations, prosecutions, and convictions. • Reassess national legislation limiting the period for appealing rejected asylum decisions to allow sufficient time for identifying victims of trafficking. • Conduct public awareness campaigns on trafficking targeting vulnerable populations.

The government maintained law enforcement efforts. Sections 257 and 258 of the penal code criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of up to six years’ imprisonment for offenses involving adult victims and up to 10 years’ imprisonment for those involving child victims. These penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape. Police reported 45 trafficking cases (24 sex trafficking, 18 labor trafficking, three unconfirmed), compared with 46 (30 sex trafficking, 16 labor trafficking) in 2017. The government reported 13 concluded prosecutions, compared with 13 in 2017. Authorities convicted 13 traffickers (one sex trafficking and 12 forced labor), compared with 11 traffickers in 2017. All of the convicted traffickers received prison sentences, ranging from four to nine years’ imprisonment. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking offenses.

The Ministry of Justice and Public Security concluded establishing anti-trafficking units in Norway’s 12 police districts. Many of these police districts lacked prosecutors with specialized training in trafficking and prosecutions of trafficking cases. Additionally, the City of Oslo established and funded an anti-trafficking unit. In 2018, there were no trafficking cases prosecuted in Oslo. Experts reported prosecutors and investigators tended to charge traffickers with non-trafficking crimes, such as narcotics and pimping. While experts noted enhanced police awareness and willingness to pursue trafficking cases, police lacked sufficient human resources and familiarity with trafficking laws. Additionally, GRETA indicated a need for more specific trainings on different aspects of trafficking, such as investigations and rights of victims. During the reporting period, the Coordination Unit for Victims of Trafficking (KOM) hosted a two-day seminar, focusing on trafficking in the context of migration; 100 officials from law enforcement, health care, social services, labor organizations, and victim services participated. KOM also conducted a second seminar on child trafficking, which garnered 100 participants from law enforcement and child welfare services. The National Criminal Investigation Service organized a conference for law enforcement personnel from all 12 police districts on recognizing trafficking indicators.

The government maintained protection efforts. The government began creating a comprehensive statistical system, per a recommendation from GRETA, on trafficking statistics including victim identification and assistance data. As a result, the government did not report the number of victims it identified or assisted in 2017 or 2018, whereas it identified and assisted 262 victims in 2016. The government provided assistance through municipal crisis centers and government-funded NGOs, including Re-establishment, Organizing safe places to stay, Security, Assistance (ROSA), the largest project exclusively assisting trafficking victims. These NGOs provided foreign and domestic victims with shelter, legal aid, stipends for food, psychological care, medical assistance, fitness facilities, and Norwegian language classes. In 2018, 77 potential victims contacted ROSA and 35 ultimately accepted shelter (118 and 45, respectively, in 2017). ROSA received 30 victim referrals from government agencies, compared with 38 referrals in 2017. Parliament earmarked 30 million kroner ($3.46 million) in grant schemes to NGOs, specifically for measures to support victims and prevent trafficking, compared with 20 million kroner ($2.3 million) in 2017. ROSA received 2.9 million kroner ($334,100) in government funding, the same as in 2017. Another NGO assisted sex trafficking victims who had received a reflection period with vocational programs and sponsored internships. Parliament earmarked five million kroner ($576,040) to the Directorate for Children, Youth, and Family Affairs to establish a coordinating unit for service and assistance to child trafficking victims. Municipal child welfare services provided assistance, including accommodation in an orphanage or foster home, to eight potential child victims. Foreign victims had the same access to care as domestic victims.

The government had neither formal identification procedures nor a NRM, although authorities utilized informal guidelines to identify and refer potential victims. During the reporting period, the government continued to develop a NRM. NGOs had limited engagement with the government in that process; GRETA’s recent report recommended the government give NGOs a larger role in decisions concerning victims of trafficking. Experts expressed concern the government would assign the NRM and identification procedures to the Labor and Welfare Administration Agency, an agency with minimal experience and knowledge on dealing with victims and trafficking trends in general. Experts also expressed concern the proposed NRM would reduce the reflection period for victims from six months to 45 days, which could result in fewer victims assisting authorities in investigations and authorities deporting more victims while they were still recovering from their abuse. Authorities granted a six-month reflection period to 13 victims and limited residence permits of up to 12 months to 11 victims, compared with eight and 15, respectively, in 2017. The law required victims to file a formal complaint to police and assist authorities in investigations in order to be eligible for the limited residence permits. Authorities granted two possible victims residence permits due to compelling humanitarian considerations (seven in 2017). Experts reported the government continued to issue fewer residence permits to victims on the basis of trafficking, which hindered the ability to fully understand the scale of trafficking in the country. Observers raised concerns over the lack of communication between police and immigration authorities, resulting in the deportation of victims who may have merited temporary residency or whose country of origin were conflict-ridden or left victims susceptible to threats of violence. GRETA also raised concerns that amendments to asylum law, particularly the shortened deadline for asylum-seekers to appeal a rejected application from three weeks to one week, risked limiting the possibilities for identifying victims of trafficking among asylum-seekers. Additionally, the continued closure of the Storskog border crossing with Russia to anyone seeking protection prevented the screening for victims of trafficking along the northern border. Forced labor victims who were material witnesses against a former employer could obtain other employment while awaiting trial and were eligible to leave the country before trial proceedings.

The government maintained prevention efforts. Norway continued to implement measures from its national action plan. KOM published an annual report providing an overview on victim identification, challenges relating to trafficking, and relevant agencies’ anti-trafficking activities. For the third consecutive year, the government did not fund any information campaigns targeted toward potential trafficking victims. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor. ROSA managed a 24-hour hotline for potential trafficking victims and noted an increase in calls from potential labor trafficking victims. Parliament earmarked 3.68 million kroner ($423,960) in grants to ROSA for the hotline and other victim assistance activities, compared with 3.25 million kroner ($374,420) in 2017.

As reported over the past five years, human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Norway, and, to a lesser extent, traffickers exploit victims from Norway abroad. Trafficking victims identified in Norway primarily originate from Eastern and Southern Europe (Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania); observers noted an increase in victims from South America (Brazil and Colombia). Traffickers subject women and girls to sex trafficking and men and women to labor trafficking, specifically in domestic service and construction. Traffickers subject children to forced criminal activities, such as shoplifting, begging, and drug sales, and other forms of forced labor, including illegal employment in car washes and private housekeeping. Some unaccompanied children, who applied for asylum or disappeared from asylum centers are vulnerable to trafficking. Foreign au pairs from the Philippines are vulnerable to trafficking in Norway.

U.S. Department of State

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