Identified as trafficked
Women who are forced to work in prostitution risk being convicted for working illegally in Denmark.
During street raids they can be arrested, imprisoned, and deported with a 2 year ban on returning. Many, like Dora, are frightened to talk after being arrested. They are banned from Denmark and soon after, their traffickers often force them to return. It takes time, not just a few hours, before they dare tell their story to the authorities.
In 2012, Dora (a Nigerian woman) was sent from Spain to Denmark and forced to work in street prostitution to pay her traffickers. They threatened her life and the lives of her family in Africa. One night in Vesterbro, she was arrested during a police raid. Confused and terrified, she didn’t dare to tell the social workers that she was trafficked, as her traffickers made her take an oath to keep quiet about how she really arrived in Denmark. The legal process moved fast and furious. Dora was imprisoned, convicted of illegal work, and deported back to Spain with a 2 year ban on returning to Denmark.
In 2013, Dora’s traffickers forced her to return to Copenhagen once more. Again, she was arrested and imprisoned in Vestre Fængsel prison. HopeNow met her in prison during our outreach work and after a number of visits where she was provided counselling and therapeutic support, she finally told us the truth. This time she was risking a 6 year ban and 40 days in prison for returning after an expulsion order. We immediately informed the Centre Against Human Trafficking through a 6 page document detailing her trafficking story. Her defence lawyer swung into action and last week after the defence lawyer and the prosecutor presented their arguments, the judge decreed she should be acquitted and was released directly after the court proceedings into the hands of HopeNow. Our staff took her to Reden International’s shelter.
Dora is no longer labeled a criminal by the authorities, but a victim of a crime.