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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                         

Kingdom of Denmark

This thoroughly modern market economy features high-tech agriculture, up-to-date small-scale and corporate industry, extensive government welfare measures, an equitable distribution of income, comfortable living standards, a stable currency, a stable political system, and high dependence on foreign trade. Unemployment is low and capacity constraints limit growth potential. Denmark is a net exporter of food and energy and enjoys a comfortable balance of payments surplus.

A major long-term issue will be the sharp decline in the ratio of workers to retirees.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Denmark

Denmark is primarily a transit and destination country for women and girls trafficked from Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Thailand, Brazil, Nigeria, and other West African countries for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Victims from Africa are trafficked to Denmark primarily through Italy and Spain. In 2008, authorities noted an increase in the number of potential child trafficking victims from Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Guinea, Hungary, Algeria, and China to Denmark for the purpose of forced petty theft.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Denmark.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Non-emergency police

33 14 88 88

Country code: 45-


Center mod Menneskehandel (Center against Human Trafficking)
70 20 25 50
Country code: 45-



Trafficking in children in Denmark

Red Barnet, Save the Children Denmark, Annual Report, 2003

[accessed 5 September 2014]

Children are sold to Denmark from impoverished countries to participate in crime, prostitution or both.

They come to Denmark from poor Eastern European countries such as Rumania and Albania. Their families cannot offer them a future. And one day, a stranger might come by, "I can give your child a better life in Western Europe." And the child goes along. The child is possibly sold to a ringleader, transported over borders under the cover of darkness. The offer of a better life turns out to be a life on the streets. Perhaps in Copenhagen. The children are schooled in crime. The path to prostitution can be short. And the road back home very, very long.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Are Muslim Women Trapped in Marriages in Denmark?

Judith Bergman, Gatestone Institute, 4 March 2020

[accessed 4 March 2020]

"It is a big problem and many men hold the women hostage in marriages they do not want. They won't accept a divorce from a Danish court -- only from a religious one", he said. "I know women who have tried in vain for ten years to find an imam that will accept their divorce... 80-90 % of the imams will not recognize that a divorce from a Danish court is also valid... And at the same time, the women's husbands and families tell them that they are not divorced until they have the imams' approval." — Imam Mostafa Chendid, Kristeligt Dagblad, January 16, 2020.

One interviewed woman, identified as Khulud, an immigrant from Iraq, described how her husband refused to divorce her:

"I was on the phone with him and he began to threaten me. He told me: 'I can make you regret the day you got to know me. I am willing to use all means to make your life bitter and unbearable'... But the [imams] just keep telling me, 'we cannot give a woman a divorce, who has made her Nikah [Islamic marriage contract] in Iraq...' I have tried to kill myself several times – I am just so tired."

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Denmark

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 4 June 2021]


Authorities identified 17 victims of forced labor in 2019 making up one-quarter of the overall number of trafficking victims. Men and women working in agriculture, cleaning, construction, factories, hospitality, restaurant, and trucking were most likely to face conditions of forced labor.


The law prohibits all of the worst forms of child labor, and the government effectively enforced the law.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 23 July 2020]


Public- and private-sector workers are generally free from exploitation by employers. However, migrants engaged in forced labor can be found in some sectors, including the agricultural and service industries. Women and children, also primarily migrants, can be found engaged in forced sex work. The government and NGOs work, frequently in conjunction, to identify and prevent human trafficking and to provide aid to survivors.

Putting a stop to human trafficking - The government has implemented a four-year plan to battle human trafficking with a focus on women and children

The Copenhagen Post Online, March 2, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

Human trafficking is a growing problem in many Western European countries, and Denmark will now attempt to gain control of the situation through a four-year, DKK 70 million (EUR 9.4 million) plan to battle the crime.

The national police indicate that half of the estimated 5,000 prostitutes in the country are foreigners forced into the lurid business, and the new plan aims to make closer contact with the exploited persons by better coordinating the 'street teams' that have already been set up to visit and help the groups.  In addition to the DKK 70 million, portions of Denmark's foreign aid going to developing countries will also be used to combat human trafficking from the points of origin.



[accessed 1 February 2011]

25/10/2006 - A new initiative from the Ministry for Social Affairs and Gender Equality hopes to make inroads into the underworld of human trafficking by offering confidential health checks to the illegal workers.  The minister for social affairs, Eva Kjer Hansen, plans to intensify scrutiny of areas where slave labour may exist, particularly prostitution. As part of this initiative, fully discreet health care clinics where illegal workers can receive treatment will be established nationwide.

Besides the obvious health risks involved in prostitution, another major concern has been the problem of what happens to those women when they are expelled from Denmark

One in 12 children forced into world's 'worst forms' of labor: UNICEF UK

Agence France-Presse, London, February 21, 2005

[accessed 20 April 2012]

[accessed 27 April 2020]

UNICEF UK lauded the pledge of developed countries, made more than 30 years ago, of allocating 0.7 percent of gross domestic product to development aid but regretted that only five countries today fulfill that promise -- Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Sweden.

One in Twelve of the World's Children Are Forced into Child Labor

UNICEF UK, 18 February 2005

[accessed 31 January 2019]

A new report launched today by UNICEF UK exposes the global exploitation of children as workers, highlighting how one in twelve of the world's children (180 million young people below 18) are involved in the worst forms of child labour – hazardous work, slavery, forced labour, in armed forces, commercial sexual exploitation and illicit activities. 97% of these are in developing countries.

A Report on Child Trafficking - Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom [PDF]

European Network Against Child Trafficking ENACT, Marc h 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

[page 42]  7.3 TRAFFICKING PRACTICES - AVAILABLE DATA - There is very limited knowledge about the number of minors that are trafficked to Denmark. It is definitely certain that there are foreign minors in the prostitution milieu in Denmark, though not in large numbers, and that criminal networks largely control this milieu. NGOs and police do not doubt that they see minors in the streets, but there are no counter-trafficking agencies in Denmark able to provide a general estimate of the number of children who are victims of trafficking in Denmark. The increased monitoring has not yet led to concrete data about the dimensions of the problem in general or in relation to minors.

There is knowledge of the problems related to trafficking in minors in the individual police jurisdictions and among NGOs that are working on the issue of prostitution. There are roughly 2000 foreign prostitutes in Denmark.15 About 10% of prostitution (both Danish and foreign) is purchased on the streets. Danish NGOs working with street prostitution do meet very young foreign prostitutes who appear to be minors. Yet, they do not remain in the street milieus for a long time, as they are in high demand. Customers quickly gather them up. Local police always stop the prostitutes who appear to be minors, but they are usually in possession of a tourist visa and money, as well as officially stamped identification that can be purchased in the countries of origin.

In the Danish media there have been reports of at least four concrete cases of foreign girls having been sold to prostitution in Denmark. Furthermore, recent research carried out by Save the Children Denmark16 reports four other concrete cases of children trafficked to Denmark for the purpose of sexual exploitation. This research also includes mention to a single group of twenty foreign children: in this case there is a substantial evidence indicating that they are victims of trafficking for the purpose of economic crime (i.e. theft).

Study Finds Demand Is a Factor Driving Human Trafficking, January 6, 2004

Niurka Pineiro, International Organization for Migration IOM, Press Briefing Notes, 06 January 2004

[accessed 1 February 2011]

Research announced by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) January 6 says that demands of the marketplace are a factor in causing human trafficking. Conducted by two British researchers in selected nations of Europe and Asia, the study suggests that the unregulated labor conditions of sex workers and domestic workers, and the abundant supply of such workers are factors behind the exploitation of migrants.

The research was carried out through interviews with employers of domestic workers in Sweden, Thailand, India and Italy (and subsequently with expatriate employers in Hong Kong and Thailand), and with clients of sex workers in Denmark, Thailand, India and Italy. The study also includes interviews with non-employers and non-clients.

Women trafficking plan comes under fire - Just 25 women to date have taken part in a government-sponsored plan to fight sex-trade trafficking. Politicians are pressing Social Affairs Minister Eva Kjer Hansen for answers

The Copenhagen Post Online, 24.11.2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 4 September 2011]

In the year since the government launched its much-touted initiative to fight international trafficking of women for the sex trade, 25 women have accepted an offer of protection at the Reden women's shelter before being deported back to their home countries.  Just one woman has accepted an offer for help from a humanitarian organisation in her home country. The government plan was aimed at helping women victimised by sex trade trafficking in their home countries, to prevent them from falling back into an abject life of prostitution.  Social Affairs Minister Eva Kjer Hansen admits that things are not going well enough.  "The figures aren't very impressive.

Trafficking in Children to Denmark - New report published by Save the Children Denmark

Child Centre for Children at Risk in the Baltic Sea Region, 20.01.2004 – [full report, next]

[accessed 1 February 2011]

[accessed 23 January 2018]

Very little is known about trafficking in children to Denmark. This is primarily owing to the fact that trafficking is a clandestine endeavour - particularly when children are involved - and minors are often equipped with false papers indicating they are more than 18 years of age. The victims rarely come to the attention of the authorities; it is therefore impossible to completely document the extent of the problem.  [see report, next]

Is trafficking in human beings demand driven?: a multi-country pilot study

Bridget Anderson and Julia O’Connell Davidson, Save the Children Sweden, ISBN:91-7321-069-2, 2003

[Long URL]

[accessed 17 February 2022]

INTRODUCTION - Part I of this report sets out to review current debates and existing research on “the demand side of trafficking”.

Trafficking in Children to Denmark - December 2003 [PDF]

Save the Children Denmark, December 2003

[accessed 1 February 2011]

[accessed 23 January 2018]

[page 3]  SUMMARY - Save the Children has uncovered two primary areas in which trade with children to Denmark is taking place. The first area includes the group of children trafficked to Denmark for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Interviews conducted with organisations and individuals in Denmark and abroad led to the discovery of three incidents of foreign children subject to sexual exploitation in Denmark. In the course of the study, a further case was dealt with in the Swedish courts involving an under-aged Polish girl who was abused in Sweden and Denmark.

Save the Children Denmark wanted to interview the aforementioned victims of trafficking; however,  via contact with adults with close relations to three of the victims we were informed that the children were not prepared to participate in such an interview. They do not wish to relive their traumatic experiences via conversations with Save the Children Denmark.

The other area Save the Children Denmark was able to identify was a group of children trafficked to Denmark for the purpose of criminal exploitation, where the proceeds from shoplifting, pickpocketing etc. is often entirely or partially delivered to e.g. a ringleader residing in Denmark.  Since the spring of 2003, the Danish police and the Social 24-hours Services of Copenhagen (den Sociale Døgnvagt) have thus observed a disconcerting development. According to the Social 24-hours Services, there have been at least 20 such cases in the period from spring to December 2003.  Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that a combination of these two areas, prostitution and crime, can also occur; the children in these milieus lead vulnerable existences on the edge of society where the distance from petty crime to prostitution is not great.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2001

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 8 June 2001

[accessed 1 February 2011]

[32] While the Committee notes that financial and special assistance programs for single parents have been established, including at the municipal level, it remains concerned about the vulnerability of children belonging to single-parent families. Concern is also expressed about the situation of children belonging to ethnic minority families.

The Protection Project - Denmark [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[Last accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Women are trafficked to Denmark mainly for the commercial sex industry. Children have been trafficked there for the commercial sex industry and for criminal activity such as pickpocketing and shoplifting. Before 1990, women trafficked to Denmark were primarily from Thailand and other Asian countries. They usually came to Denmark to work in prostitution. Since 1990, women from Eastern Europe and the Baltic States are brought to Denmark for the commercial sex industry. Currently, an estimated 6,000 women in prostitution are in Denmark; 2,000 of them are foreign, and half of that group comes from Eastern Europe, especially from the Baltic states (with a Russian background), Russia, and Ukraine. One organization estimated that in the 10 years up to 2002, more than a tenfold increase had occurred in the share of foreign women in prostitution entering the Danish market.  The number of foreign women in prostitution in Denmark is considerably larger than the numbers in Sweden and Norway. 

A recent study undertaken by Save the Children Denmark uncovered two primary purposes for which children are trafficked to Denmark: for commercial sexual exploitation and for criminal exploitation, such as pickpocketing and shoplifting. At least 20 cases of this second form were detected from spring to December 2003.  In that year, police observed that an increasing number of boys, primarily from Romania, were being trafficked for criminal exploitation. Many appeared to belong to the Roma minority.  A combination of trafficking for both purposes can also occur.


2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018

[accessed 21 March 2019]

[accessed 25 June 2019]


The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor, including by children, and the government effectively enforced this prohibition. The law prescribes penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment for violations, which was generally sufficient to deter violations. The most recent (2016) statistics of the Danish Center for Human Trafficking identified five victims of forced labor, two for (commercial) forced labor, and three who were trafficked to the country to commit crimes, such as drug sales and organized theft. The government also trained tax inspectors and trade union officials to identify forced labor.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 8 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The country was both a destination and a transit point for women and children who were trafficked from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Thailand, and Africa for the purposes of sexual exploitation and occasionally to work as thieves.

Traffickers lured victims with the prospect of higher wages and a better life, then forced them into prostitution, often withholding their passports. Authorities suspected traffickers had ties to organized crime, specifically in Russia and the Baltic countries, and subjected them to police investigations and prosecutions.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery - Denmark",, [accessed <date>]