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HopeNow then …

Michelle Mildwater founded the grassroots non-governmental organisation (NGO) HopeNow in April 2007 and she is currently the head of the organisation. Michelle has worked with trafficked women and foreign women in prostitution in Denmark since 2003, thus has extensive in-depth knowledge about the issues surrounding human trafficking and exploitation.

Back when she started out, her focus was on African women, primarily from Nigeria, but over the years, HopeNow has also worked with women from China, Eastern Europe and South America. Michelle did outreach work in prostitution environments, prisons and detention centres. She also acted as an advisor in legal and residency matters, and in attorney-client interviews, and as a facilitator when women received assistance in the health and social systems.

And now …

Ten years later in 2017 the organisation continues the work that Michelle pioneered, and the organisation has expanded to include over 20 volunteers and a small number of paid staff who have a wide variety of socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and come from a broad range of professional and academic fields. Michelle is not alone in her outreach work anymore – she is joined by a team of volunteers, intenrs, peer group workers, and paid staff.

HopeNow is currently an official actor under the Danish National Action Plan in the Fight Against Human Trafficking (2015 – 2018) and has a mandate to identify victims of human trafficking in Denmark. Between 2007 and 2017 we have provided support to over 2000 people. Since 2016, a minimum of 250 persons have been screened by HopeNow in order to identify them as victims of trafficking. 82 of them were identified by us as trafficked, but only 29 individuals agreed to being officially identified as victims of human trafficking.This was one third of all of the persons in Denmark who have been officially identified as trafficked. The greatest challenge is that victims of trafficking do not feel it will improve their situation if they are officially identified; it is not in their interests to receive a voluntary return, as this will not improve their situation. Read more on this challenge here.

And in the future …

The documentation of all of our activities with the target group has become a major priority in recent years. There is a continued focus on women who are originally from Africa, however the target group includes also men and children, who are actual or possible victims of human trafficking in Denmark. In the future, we plan to diversify our outreach activities in an attempt to build trust with a greater number of possibly trafficked women and men. We shall continue our efforts at disseminating knowledge through various outlets in order to create more favourable conditions and policies for victims of trafficking.

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