Hope for Justice has contributed to a major report about human trafficking survivors’ access to justice and effective remedies.
The Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) published its third report on Norway this month, with our team providing invaluable insights as part of the research.
Our submissions included that police resources are not being fully given to anti-trafficking units due to the organisational structure in the police.
This was incorporated in the summary of the report which reads: “GRETA welcomes the establishment of anti-trafficking units in all 12 police districts in Norway. Nonetheless, GRETA notes with concern the low number of indictments and convictions for human trafficking due, inter alia, to the fact that the financial resources allocated to anti-trafficking units are often reassigned to other units.”
This is coupled with the lack of identification of victims and how quickly they are returned to other countries.
The report also references our co-operation with the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (NLA), specifically our provision of information and assistance to foreign workers in order to help safeguard their rights.
GRETA’s report assesses developments since the publication of its section evaluation report on Norway. The group welcomes the adoption of legislation on interpretation in public services but believes that access to qualified and independent interpreters should also be guaranteed to victims of human trafficking at the time of their initial meeting with a lawyer.
Norway should, GRETA states, ensure that survivors have access to free legal aid, and specifically by a lawyer with experience in human trafficking cases. The report also urges the Norwegian authorities to provide state compensation in cases where no criminal proceedings are brought against victims’ alleged perpetrators.
Further recommendations include introducing a National Referral Mechanism, a process by which people can formally be identified as victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, and by which they can then access state support.
Ida Ryen, Team Leader of Hope for Justice’s Norway Programme, said: “We are happy to see that GRETA is continuing to urge Norway to establish a formalised National Referral Mechanism. We have seen positive improvements in legislation, with the implementation of provisions on wage theft in the Criminal Code and the Transparency Act for businesses, but we still have a long way to go in terms of victims’ access to their rights and training on human trafficking for law enforcement and other frontline professionals.”
Norway is currently ranked as a Tier 2 country within the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) Norway – United States Department of State, published by the US Department of State each year.
It states that: “The Government of Norway does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.”
The vast majority of people trafficked in Norway are adult women exploited for sexual exploitation, though there are indications that labour exploitation is on the rise, particularly in the construction, fishing, cleaning, agriculture, waste collection, hospitality and restaurant industries, according to GRETA’s report.
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