Concerns of teen prostitution at Danish asylum centre

Staff at Center Sandholm, Denmark's largest asylum centre, have suspicions that young refugee boys are being prostituted, Berlingske reported.

Concerns of teen prostitution at Danish asylum centre
Staff say that boys leave Center Sandholm for a few hours and return with new designer clothes. Photo: Miriam Nielsen
Jannich Bisp, a supervisor at the centre, told the newspaper that concerns have been raised about a group of teenage boys. 
“There are situations in which the boys receive a phone call, take off for a few hours and then come back with designer clothes,” Bisp said. 
“We are worried about where the boys are getting the money,” he added. 
The concerns at Center Sandholm, located some 30 kilometres north of Copenhagen, came to light after the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenkan reported similar stories about refugee children at the Aleris Asylum Center in Malmö. There too officials said that the young asylum seekers would get phone calls, disappear for a few hours and then return with money or new clothes. 
At Sandholm, personnel say that there have been a few occasions in which the teenage boys have reported sexual abuse but the teens left the centre before any action could be taken.
Bisp said that many of the teens in the asylum centre have a hard time trusting the workers there. 
“This is a group of boys that have been treated poorly by adults and have maybe been abused throughout their lives. We use a lot of time creating comfort and trust between us and the boys but if they finally open up, they often disappear again before we can follow up on the case,” he told Berlingske. 
He said that that some of the boys have told staff that “there is someone in Copenhagen who organizes prostitution”. 
“We contact the police every time but it is hard for the police to do anything with the case when the boys won’t say anything more,” he said. 
Caroline Madsen of the Danish Red Cross, which runs three other children’s refugee centres across Denmark, said that similar concerns have not been aired elsewhere as far as she knows. 
“The staff is trained to observe disturbing and divergent behaviour, and we work in close cooperation with both the municipality and the Centre against Human Trafficking, which sometimes comes and talks with the kids if we have a particular concern,” Madsen told Berlingske.