‘Record number’ of human trafficking victims in Denmark

The number of people being sold into involuntary service as sex workers or criminals has never been higher in Denmark, Metroxpress reported on Wednesday.

‘Record number’ of human trafficking victims in Denmark
Most trafficking victims are forced into prostitution. Photo: Colourbox
According to figures from the Danish Centre against Human Trafficking (Center mod Menneskehandel), Danish officials identified 93 trafficking victims in 2015. As recently as 2007, that number was just 17. 
The majority of the victims are from Romania, followed by Nigeria. Six of last year’s 93 victims were minors, with the majority of those being boys who were forced into thievery.
“The victims are often held in the hidden iron grip of their traffickers, who use many types of physical and psychological methods to force them into submission,” Michelle Mildwater from the anti-trafficking organization Hope Now told Metroxpress
Of the 511 registered trafficking victims since 2007, 405 were forced into prostitution, while the others were made to commit crimes or carry out involuntary labour. 
However, the Danish NGO Sexualpolitisk Forum notes that the number of people being trafficked into prostitution actually decreased in 2015. 
“The number of presumed victims of trafficking into prostitution has been relatively stable since 2009. The reason for the overall increase in 2015 is not a general tendency, but because of a singular case which has nothing to do with prostitution,” the organization's spokesman Steen Schapiro told The Local, referencing what was called the biggest case of human trafficking in Danish history, in which some 1,000 poor Romanians were tricked into coming to Denmark for jobs and ended up forced into involuntary labour.
“You cannot directly compare 2015 numbers to the numbers from a decade ago, because back in 2007 and 2008, the focus and resources of the authorities looking into trafficking were not the same as they are today. With more resources and political focus on trafficking, more potential victims were identified from 2009 and onward,” Schapiro added. 
There has been a particular increase in the number of male trafficking victims brought to Denmark, with 42 of last year's 93 trafficking victims being men.  According to the Danish Centre against Human Trafficking, the men are most often forced into carrying out crimes like theft. 
NOTE: This story was updated on July 7th to correct a number of factual errors.