HopeNow today…

HopeNow is founded on expert knowledge about human trafficking, outreach and identification. We create positive change and empower victims and survivors of trafficking to a better life.

HopeNow remains a dynamic NGO available and ready all around the clock to do its work – to counsel, support and empower victims of human trafficking, develop new methods and analyse new tendencies within the area. Over the years, HopeNow has contacted and screened more than 13,000 persons and provided support to more than 3000 individuals.

HopeNow is still a partner under the Danish Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and receives government funds to do outreach work and identify victims of trafficking. HopeNow works closely with its partners – Center against Human Trafficking, Ami Ami and Reden International, partners under the Danish Action Plan.

HopeNow is run mainly by volunteers with only two paid employees. They represent a large scale of social, cultural and linguistic backgrounds and have different professional and academic skills and experiences.

In 2014-2018 HopeNow developed and ran two projects in Kenya in close partnership with the Kenyan NGO named HAART. HAART works within the human trafficking area as well. The projects cooperated with CISU and were funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Together with HAART, HopeNow developed awareness programmes to spread out to schools, villages and slum areas in Kenya to prevent Kenyan men and women to be exploited and trafficked to Europe.

Between 2015 and 2018, HopeNow received governmental funding from the Ministry of Gender to run a project to examine and focus on possible victims of trafficking within the areas of escort and private sex work. HopeNow identified 69 women who were trafficked into an area that is hidden and previously regarded as a sole domain of independent sex workers.

In recent years, the documentation of HopeNow’s activities and results with the target group has become a significant priority. African women are still the most prominent group which whom HopeNow is in contact.  Since 2012 HopeNow has identified an increasing number of men as victims of trafficking. The biggest group of trafficked men consists of African men trafficked to sell drugs and other organised crime or forced labour.

How HopeNow started…

In 2007, trauma therapist and human trafficking expert Michelle Mildwater and human rights lawyer Anne Brandt Christensen founded the grassroots non-governmental organisation (NGO) HopeNow. Anne Brandt Christensen was chairperson of the board from 2007-to 2016, and she is now a member of HopeNow’s advisory board. Michelle Mildwater is still running director of the organisation.

Together with a group of dedicated people, Michelle Mildwater had since 2003 worked with foreign women in prostitution. She gained a deep knowledge and experience with the issues and problems connected to human trafficking and exploitation.
In the beginning, the focus of HopeNow was mainly on African women, primarily from Nigeria and other West African countries.

At that time, the Nigerian women were the largest group of trafficked persons in Denmark – trafficked to do prostitution in the streets or other kinds of forced sex work. In 2007, HopeNow cooperated closely with the Women Center under the Danish Red Cross Asylum Department.

The Women Center accommodated trafficked women who applied for asylum. The women were staying for a very long time in the asylum system, which allowed the staff of the Women Center and HopeNow to build trust and, as a result, got to hear the narratives of the women. Through these narratives, HopeNow developed extensive in-depth knowledge about the issues surrounding human trafficking, especially inside the African network, giving the possibility to create best practices and methods based on empowerment.

From 2007 to 2008, Michelle Mildwater was employed as a consultant for the Red Cross Asylum Department, which discovered that trafficked women as a unique group in the asylum system. In 2008, Michelle Mildwater was employed as a consultant for the Danish Center against Human Trafficking. She stayed there until 2011 when HopeNow officially became a partner under the Danish Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.

In 2011, HopeNow got governmental funding and a contract to do outreach work in the streets, prisons, and asylum centres to find and identify victims of trafficking.

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