The government decreased protection efforts. Authorities identified 97 trafficking victims in 2018, compared with 98 in 2017. Of these victims, 61 were male, 35 were female, and one identified as transgender. Ten of the identified victims were minors (three in 2017). There were no Danish victims identified, compared with one in 2017. Experts noted authorities identified most victims via periodic police raids, and the trend toward online advertisement of prostitution made identifying sex trafficking victims more difficult. Government guidelines for identifying victims required the involvement of multiple government and law enforcement agencies, requiring several interviews of victims who were kept in detention before referral to NGOs, who stated victim identification methods were convoluted and involved them too late in the process. The government provided a list of indicators for police to reference for initial identification and procedures to guide officials in proactive victim identification. Guidelines required police to call CMM if a suspected victim was in custody. CMM was responsible for formal identification of victims of Danish or EU origin or who were documented migrants, and immigration services were responsible for formal identification of undocumented migrant victims following an initial CMM interview. Officials had the authority to detain potential victims for 72 hours and could extend this period when they needed more time to determine victim status or immigration status, or to identify traffickers. NGOs contended the current laws and political climate encouraged police officers to focus their efforts on addressing migration issues, thus primarily treating victims as undocumented immigrants subject to the justice system. NGOs also contended the onus of victim identification remained on victims rather than officials’ proactive identification, and highlighted that many victims came from communities that distrust law enforcement, making them unlikely to self-identify. Additionally, experts expressed concern over the lack of incentives, such as residence permits, for victims to cooperate in investigations.
CMM offered assistance to all victims, including information on undocumented victims’ options for voluntary return, asylum, or humanitarian residence. In 2018, 89 victims accepted support and entered care facilities (88 in 2017). Government-operated and government-funded NGO facilities provided trafficking victims medical and psychological care, shelter, and financial, legal, and reintegration assistance, regardless of gender, disability, origin, or immigration status. Although these trafficking-specific services existed, authorities sometimes housed victims with asylum-seekers and refugees. Victims receiving assistance could not seek employment, but they could apply for compensation through a state fund and through civil suits against their traffickers. The government did not report if victims pursued these in 2018. The Danish Red Cross assisted unaccompanied children and child victims in another facility partially funded by the government and screened all unaccompanied minors in asylum centers for trafficking indicators. Danish Red Cross personnel expressed concern over the growing number of Moroccan boys living in asylum centers forced into petty criminality and the government’s lack of response to this development, as well as the overall treatment of children in asylum centers.
The government provided undocumented trafficking victims a 30-day “extended time limit for departure” (with extension up to 120 days) as part of its prepared return program for trafficking victims ordered to leave Denmark. Regional anti-trafficking experts, including the Council of Europe, emphasized this period did not refer to a period of reflection and recovery necessary to determine whether victims would cooperate in the investigation of their cases; rather it was a period of time the victims had to cooperate in their repatriation. The government provided those who accepted the prepared return with up to six months temporary residency and training to prevent re-trafficking. Some victims chose not to participate in the program, reportedly based on the perception it was merely a preparation for deportation. Additionally, traffickers’ debt-based coercion and victims’ lack of protection in their home countries served as significant deterrents from accepting the prepared return. In 2018, the government did not report the number of trafficking victims who accepted a prepared return (13 in 2017, 12 in 2016). Regardless of whether foreign victims accepted the prepared return, the government provided 50,000 kroner ($7,670) to victims at deportation. Authorities deported undocumented victims who did not accept a prepared return unless they were assisting in the prosecution of a trafficker. The government did not report granting asylum residence permits to victims in 2018 (one in 2017). NGOs reported the threat of deportation prevented victims from coming forward and led some identified victims to leave shelters before the conclusion of police investigations or court proceedings in order to evade deportation.